Chongqing and Changsha were relegated yesterday in a nail-biting final Chinese Super League 2010 round which saw Qingdao escape demotion by the skin of their teeth and the bottom three clubs all finish on 30 points.
A 2-2 draw away to Shaanxi was not enough to prevent Chongqing finishing in the bottom two of the top tier league for the sixth time in their history. However, this is only their second relegation, having been saved on the four other occasions by league expansion, by merging with other teams, and by the relegation of Guangzhou and Chengdu for match-fixing last season.
Chongqing’s luck ran out this time – despite having a better goal difference than Qingdao, head-to-head results are used to settle tiebreaks in the Chinese Super League, so, down they go. They are joined by Changsha, who themselves have twice avoided relegation in the past due to league expansion. They could only draw 0-0 with fellow strugglers Nanchang, who escape he drop and will enjoy their second-ever season in the Chinese Super League next year.
In the other relegation matches, Shenzhen battled from two goals down to draw 4-4 with Liaoning at home, but ultimately they were safe anyway since none of their rivals won. Qingdao survived for this same reason, as they lost at home to Hangzhou, who sealed their Asian Champions League berth in the process.
Tianjin did likewise to leapfrog Shenhua and steal the runners-up spot. Shenhua finished their season miserably, slipping out of the top two for the first time this season and losing 5-2 away to Shandong (see video clip) who lifted the Chinese Super League trophy in a ceremony afterwards. Shenhua finish third, by virtue of having a better head-to-head record against Hangzhou who also finished on 48 points. Last year’s champs Beijing Guoan finished the season empty-handed as they missed out on the 4th ACL spot in what could only be described as a very dissapointing year for the capital side.
Shenhua’s Duvier Riascos was the Chinese Super League’s top marksman on 20 goals, whilst Han Peng of Shandong was not far behind the Columbian with a tally of 17. Former Shenhua striker Luis Ramirez, a Honduran playing with Hangzhou, was third on 14.
Check out the final Chinese Super League 2010 standings in English on FIFA’s official website.