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Guangzhou Evergrande FC: Chinese Super League Champions 2011 - Wild East Football
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Guangzhou Evergrande FC: Chinese Super League Champions 2011

Gao Lin lets the Champagne fly late last night (osports.cn)

Guangzhou Evergrande clinched their first ever Chinese Super League title last night with four rounds of the league still left to play.

The Cantonese side won their match against Shaanxi 4-1, but with that game an early 5pm kick-off, they had to wait until around 9.30pm last night to find out if second-placed Beijing could beat Shandong to mathematically stay in contention. But that game finished 1-1, meaning Guangzhou, who have led the Chinese Super League for virtually the entire season, could no longer be caught.

They become the first ever newly-promoted team to win the league in their first season, and are the sixth different winner of the Chinese championship since it was re-launched as the Chinese Super League in 2004.

Chinese national team striker Gao Lin led the celebrations at a private club party after news reached the squad that Beijing had failed to win.

Guangzhou’s Korean manager Lee Jang-soo, himself a former head coach of Beijing Guoan, told FIFA’s website that he was proud of his players, and that his team had found its form just in time to win a tough away match and seal its maiden championship.

The club was bankrolled this season by  Chinese real estate company the Evergrande group, and made a huge investment in its playing squad, singing major stars such as Brazillian League player of the year Dario Conca for $10 million  from Fluminese.

Having won the Chinese Super League so comprehensively,  footballing eyes from accross the entire continent will be focused on the club next season as it makes its first attempt to win the Asian Champions League.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.



  1. Damian Jones

    29/09/2011 at 21:52

    Nice article (thumbs up). I was kind of hoping Beijing would win at Shandong so that GZ could clinch the title at home. Nevermind though, the game against Shenhua on the 16th is going to be one big party.

    I think GZ are going to put in a massive effort in the ACL next season. Whether this detracts from their CSL efforts remains to be seen.

    GZ have set a bench mark and it can only be good for the future of Chinese football.

    • WEF Editor

      29/09/2011 at 23:17

      If Guangzhou can make a good attempt at the ACL it will definately lift the game in China as a whole, and possibly even Asia.

      • CP

        30/09/2011 at 10:00

        I agree, but what gives Guangzhou an edge over previous Chinese champions? Is it their depth and foreign talent?

        • bcheng

          30/09/2011 at 10:54

          In reality, nothing. Their foreign talent is somewhat better than what most Chinese teams have gone into the competition with, but shouldn’t make a huge impact. Let’s remember this was a very blessed season for them, the ACL has been a major distraction for Chinese teams over the years and it will be interesting to see if Guangzhou decides to go all out in Asia at the risk of hurting themselves in the league. If they don’t make any changes, I could see them getting out of the group stage, but then getting knocked out right away, though them getting out of the group stage will depend on the draw. They’ve gotten in good with the CFA, we’ll see if they can do the same with the AFC…

  2. Damian Jones

    30/09/2011 at 23:42

    “They’ve gotten in good with the CFA, we’ll see if they can do the same with the AFC.”
    Have we? That’s news to me. Take that bloody big green chip off your shoulder.

    As for the ACL, most Japanese teams don’t expend the effort as they make more money etc from the domestic J-league campaign (Urawa Reds would probably love another shot though, although they’ve slipped off the pace in recent years after looking as if they would become Asia’s first “super club” with the fanatical support to boot).

    The Koreans are definitely more inclined to put more effort into the ACL. GZ would do well to listen to their Korean influence and do a fair bit of research into Korean ACL performances.

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