Behind Sun Ke’s two goals and one assist Jiangsu Sainty were able to demolish Dalian Shide 5-0 in last Sunday’s Chinese Super League match at Nanjing Olympic Sports Center.
This was only the second time Jiangsu has scored five goals in a Chinese Super League match, with the first coming last season when Jiangsu soundly defeated Guangzhou Evergrande 5-2. The five goal margin of victory was the largest for Jiangsu since September 2005 when they topped Shanghai Jiucheng by a score of 6-1 in a League One match.
One would expect a healthy crowd to show up for a Sunday afternoon match but the contest between Jiangsu and Dalian drew a less than stellar crowd. Sure, the announced attendance was 21,356, but one look at the empty seats and it’s obvious the actual number of people in the stadium were well below the number for the home opener. The reason for the small crowd is that this Wednesday is Tomb Sweeping Festival, one of China’s traditional holidays. Most folks won’t work Monday to Wednesday, but this means they have to work over the weekend, essentially making Saturday and Sunday weekdays.
For the fourth consecutive week Jiangsu manager Dragan Okuka fielded the identical starting lineup.
After some early chances by both sides Jiangsu was able to break the deadlock in the 25th minute when Ji Xiang scored his first goal of the season off a Sun Ke assist. Liu Jianye chipped the ball towards the end line where a sprinting Sun was able to send the ball across the goal before it rolled out of bounds. Dalian keeper Zhang Chong and defender Zhao Mingjian were unable to stop the cross as it found Ji at the far post who side footed the ball into the back of the net.
In the 40th minute striker Aleksandar Jevtić came close to doubling the lead for Jiangsu. Defender Eleílson blasted a long ball, as he’s known to do, up the field towards Jevtić and two Dalian defenders. After giving a short pursuit the two Dalian defenders eased up as they thought the ball would safely reach their keeper Zhang Cong who was waiting at the edge of the box. Jevtić showed true determination as he kept running and used his out stretched leg to get a foot on the ball just before Zhang could grab it. Unfortunately for Jevtić his chip went directly into Zhang’s face and bounced away harmlessly. If anything Jevtić’s efforts were able to provide us with a funny picture of the ball smacking Zhang square in the face (see picture at bottom).
Early in the second half it would be Sun Ke who would double Sainty’s lead. Jevtić crossed the ball into the middle of the field where Cristian Dănălache managed to out muscle Dalian defender Yang Boyu and head the ball on target. A diving Zhang Cong was able to get one hand on the ball to parry the shot away, but it only went as far as Sun who kocked the ball into the back of the net with ease.
Eight minutes later in the 55th minute Sun would strike again. Lu Bofei delivered a lovely pass up and over the Dalian back line to Sun who then chipped the ball over a poorly positioned Zhang. The crowd erupted as Sun, a Jiangsu native, recorded a brace giving Sainty a 3-0 lead.
In the 71st minute Okuka replaced Jevtić with fellow Serbian Miljan Mrdaković. Making an offensive substitution while holding a three goal lead showed that Okuka wasn’t content to sit back and play defense.
Jiangsu’s consistent pressure on Dalian almost resulted in giving up a goal when striker James Chamanga got behind the back line of Jiangsu. As Chamanga was gaining control of the ball keeper Deng Xiaofei ran over to meet the Zambian forward. Deng somehow managed to corral Chamanga away from the goal and eventually poked the ball away for a throw in.
Against the run of play in the 79th minute Jiangsu managed to get into a three-on-two position. It appeared that the advantage had been lost when the ball was passed out wide to Liu Jianye. The midfielder sent in a cross that looked bound for Dalian’s Zhao Honglüe but a sprinting Cristian Dănălache manhandled Zhao to win the header and score his first goal of the season.
Despite such a large lead Jiangsu continued to play the role of the attacker. Their efforts paid off in the 89th minute when Dănălache was taken down inside the penalty area by Korean Park Dong-Hyuk. Dănălache took to the penalty spot and made no mistake as he sent Zhang the wrong way to earn the second brace of the night for Jiangsu.
The 5-0 victory pushes Jiangsu into sole possession of third place in the league with eight points out of a possible 12. Next week’s match at Shandong will be a test to see if Jiangsu can translate the success it has at home into success on the road.