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Sainty earn first road win in Shanghai

This past Sunday afternoon Jiangsu Sainty defeated Shanghai Shenxin 1-0 in a tightly contested match at Jinshan Football Stadium. Cristian Dănălache’s late goal was enough to give Jiangsu their first road victory of the 2012 season. The win pushes Jiangsu (4-0-3, 15 points) into second place in the league standings while Shenxin (2-4-1, 7 points) falls to 12th place.

Last season Jiangsu had swept the season series against  Nanchang Hengyuan with a pair of 1-0 victories. During the this past offseason Hengyuan was relocated from Nanchang to Shanghai, thus making Sundays match the first ever between Sainty and Shenxin.

Jinshan Football Stadium is a long distance from the urban core of Shanghai and so far this season the small attendance at Shenxin matches has reflected the stadiums location. This past weekend was no exception, and the large traveling contingent of Jiangsu fans made their presence felt in the mostly empty stadium.

It would be the Shenxin fans who had something to cheer about in the early goings as the home side had the better run of play in the first half. In the 18th minute Jiangsu defender Eleílson tried to clear a pass into the box, but instead he kicked the ball high and across the box. Shenxin striker Anselmo, also a Brazilian, was eagerly waiting at the far post for the ball as it began its decent. Jiangsu keeper Deng Xiaofei demonstrated some quick thinking as he rushed across the goal to bat the ball out of play. On the ensuing corner kick Jonas Salley of Shenxin headed the ball just high of the goal.

After 30-minutes of play Shenxin looked like the superior team while Jiangsu was playing rather sloppily. Shenxin was looking especially dangerous on set pieces and in the 35th minute Jiangsu dodged a bullet as Wang Yun hit the crossbar on a free kick. Wang had Deng beat but was unable to get enough dip on the ball as it ricocheted off the bar. As the first half came to a close Jiangsu fans breathed a sigh of relief as they were fortunate Shenxin was kept off the scoreboard.

The second half was a different story as Jiangsu came out strong. Two minutes into the second period Jiang Jiajun had a nice shot on goal but Shenxin captain Zhao Zuojun was able to get his foot in the path of the shot, deflecting it out of bounds.

Things looked bad for Shenxin as Jonas Salley went down in the 61st minute with what looked to be a hamstring injury. Salley limped off the field where a trainer wrapped a large bandage around his leg. This seemed to do the trick as the Australian came back on the field in a matter of minutes.

Cristian Dănălache scored the winning goal in the 81th minute when he got on the end of a freekick into the box and looped his header into the far corner of the net to delight the large band of travelling supporters, as Jiangsu held on for their first away win of the season.

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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