By Andrew Crawford, writing from Shanghai
All good things have to come to an end eventually and the long shot that was Shanghai Shenhua belatedly saving their season and qualifying for the Asian Champions League is now off the table after the team was humiliated 4-2 by the high-flying Guizhou Renhe on Sunday.
Despite the hype and the astounding levels of investment, there will be no big weekday night fixtures against the best club teams in Asia in Shanghai for the second successive season. Instead, Shenhua will have to settle for mid table obscurity and the hope that their rapidly aging star players will still have enough magic left to make things right in 2013.
This isn’t to say that things haven’t been fun along the way. Stretching from early July until October, a team that had previously been flirting with relegation suddenly burst into life and began scoring boatloads of goals whilst going unbeaten over eleven games.