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Danalache hat-trick leads Jiangsu past Henan

Jiangsu Sainty continued their dominance at home with a 5-1 win over Henan Jianye last Saturday evening at Nanjing Olympic Sports Center.

Romanian striker Cristian Dănălache led the way for the home side with a hat-trick. The win keeps Jiangsu in second place in the league standings, a point behind league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande. The defeat drops Henan to 11th place in the league.

The day Henan comes to town is a date most Jiangsu fans circle on their calendar. Given the relatively close distance between the two provincial capitals, Nanjing and Zhengzhou, a healthy number of away fans usually attend the match. This makes for a lively atmosphere, normally filled with anti-Henan chants. Unfortunately I was unable to attend last Saturdays match due to a personal obligation, and it appears I missed quite the offensive display as Jiangsu scored five goals for the second time this season.

Serbian striker Aleksandar Jevtić got the scoring off to an early start as he bagged his second goal of the season just 40-seconds into the match. After a cross found Ji Xiang on the left side of the box, Ji cross the ball back into the center of the penalty area. Dănălache tried an acrobatic kick but whiffed completely. This worked out well because the ball bounced to Jevtić who kocked the ball past the Henan keeper, Zeng Cheng, with ease.

In the 36th minute Jiangsu doubled their lead when Dănălache tapped in the rebound off a Ji Xiang shot. A Henan defender cleared the ball out of the box with a header, but the ball landed right at the feet of Ji who pulled the trigger and blasted a shot on goal. Zeng dove to stop the shot but was unable to maintain possession. Dănălache took advantage of this miscue and tapped the ball into the back of the net, giving Jiangsu a 2-0 lead.

Just before halftime the Eastern European Connection of Dănălache and Jevtić teamed up to increase Jiangsu’s lead. At the corner of the penalty box Dănălache sent a back heel pass to Jevtić who then kept a Henan defender at bay long enough to pass the ball back to Dănălache. With Zeng guarding the post Dănălache had little trouble scoring his second goal of the night as his shot the ball right down the middle.

Five minutes into the second half Jiangsu captain Lu Bofei scored his second goal of the season, giving Jiangsu a 4-0 lead. Jevtić hustled down the sideline and crossed the ball just inches before it went out of bounds. Zeng dove to punch the ball away but was unable to make solid contact. Standing in the center of the box Lu used a high kick to send the ball back over Zeng and between three Henan defenders.

The onslaught continued in the 58th minute when the Eastern European Connection hooked up again on a breakaway. After sprinting down the left side of the field Jevtić crossed the ball to an unmarked Dănălache who made no mistake scoring his third goal of the evening for his first hat-trick in a Jiangsu uniform.

Henan would get one back in the 70th minute when Xu Yang scored his first goal of the season. A cross in front of the goal sent Jiangsu keeper Deng Xiaofei diving to stop the ball but it went off his fingertips and continued across the goal where Xu was waiting at the far post. The goal might not seem like a big deal with Jiangsu already up by five goals, but this was the first goal scored against Jiangsu at home since October 22, 2011.

While it’s disappointing to give up the clean sheet, you can’t be disappointed with a 5-1 win. After a few uninspired matches for Jevtić it was encouraging to see him contribute on four of the five goals. Hopefully the offensive output will continue on the road, where Jiangsu have failed to score more than a single goal in a match all season long.

After being born and raised in Seattle, Kenneth came to Jiangsu in 2008. His first CSL match came back in 2009 when Jiangsu Sainty faced Shanghai Shenhua on the road. Despite going to the match as a neutral observer, the passion and heart displayed by the visitors turned Kenneth into a Jiangsu supporter. For the past two seasons Kenneth has been a season ticket holder for Jiangsu and been a regular with the main supporter group 12th player. Besides going to every home match he also tries to make it to away matches that can be made in a day or two (Shanghai, Hangzhou, Henan, etc.) The other club Kenneth follows is his hometown team Seattle Sounders FC. Supporting your local club is something he believes in strongly and constantly tries to convince skeptics both in Nanjing and Seattle that there’s nothing better than following your hometown team through the thick and the thin. Unlike the other contributors to this blog Kenneth does not have a solid understanding of the local language. His posts will mostly be geared towards what he knows best, Jiangsu Sainty.



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