In a poignant recollection of his illustrious career, Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins fondly reminisces about Shanghai Shenhua’s triumphant Chinese FA Cup campaign in 2017, citing it as one of the defining moments of his football journey.
Martins played a pivotal role in securing Shenhua’s first FA Cup trophy since 1998, showcasing his prowess with crucial goals in both legs of the final against Shanghai SIPG. The former Inter Milan star netted the lone goal in a 1-0 first-leg victory and found the back of the net again in a closely contested 3-2 loss in the return fixture.
Speaking ahead of Shenhua’s Asian Champions League home group clash against Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Martins emphasized the significance of the FA Cup triumph, stating, “The FA Cup is a beautiful memory to me, not only because I scored in both legs but also because we defeated a very tough opponent with our team effort when nobody believed we could win the title.”
Martins, quoted on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) official website, continued, “Winning the FA Cup brought us some confidence and taught us that anything can happen as long as we prepare well. For any player, it is an unforgettable memory to score in finals, especially against stronger opponents.”
Reflecting on the contrasting formats of finals in England and China, Martins noted, “The differences between the two finals are that in England, it is a one-legged match, but the FA Cup in China is over two legs, which makes it harder to win the title.”
Addressing Shenhua’s current challenge in the AFC Champions League, Martins acknowledged the tough competition in Group H, having drawn all three of their games. Shenhua is currently four points adrift of group leaders Kashima and one point behind Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
Martins commented, “It’s very hard to predict this group. Every opponent is very strong, and it may be the toughest group in the competition because we are all quite close to each other.”
Expressing optimism for the future, Martins concluded, “This is my third season at Shanghai Shenhua, and I hope I can help the team get some good results with my efforts. I love Shanghai very much. It is an international city, and people are friendly. You can find food from all over the world, and I have made new friends here. I enjoy my life in Shanghai.”