(Reuters) – Oriental Sports Club head coach Chen Wanting was comforted by rival Luis Felipe Scolari after her AFC debut against Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande ended in a 7-0 thrashing.
Affectionately known as “Aw Yuen”, which means “beef ball”, 28-year-old Ms Chen became the first woman to coach a men’s team in the mainland’s top league when she led the Hong Kong champions to an exit at Tianhe Stadium in 2017. Wednesday.
Her dreams of competing for money with the 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil coach were quickly dashed as full-back Huang Zihao was sent off for handball within the opening four minutes and Ricardo Goulart scored from the penalty spot.
The Orient were dragged down by a ruthless Guangzhou and found themselves 3-0 down and reduced to nine men after Huang Zhizhong was sent off for a second yellow card in the 34th minute. The home team scored four more goals in the second half.
Scolari, who hugged Chen after the game, said the red card distorted the nature of the game.
The South China Morning Post quoted him as saying: “I comforted her by telling her that this competition doesn’t really prove your ability.”
“It’s completely different when you get two red cards like that in such a short period of time – you can’t take it seriously.”
Chen agreed that the loss of two players had sealed her side’s fate, and said Orient would need to adapt quickly to life in the region’s elite league, with five Group G games still to go.
“We learned a very valuable lesson today,” she added. “Of course it was a big disappointment to lose the game, but we knew we needed to adjust our mentality as soon as possible.
“After the (first) red card, everything changed, all our tactics and plans had to change. In a game like this, the tempo is very different from what we encountered in Hong Kong… This is our For a debut, we will naturally make mistakes.”
China Eastern Airlines had earlier issued refunds to fans planning to travel to China for the game, citing “internal problems”.
The Hong Kong club’s next game is March 1 against Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale. The other team in the group is South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Blue Wings.
Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien