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Shandong 0-0 Jiangsu: Another Road Game Another Draw for Sainty

Shandong Luneng and visiting Jiangsu Sainty played to a 0-0 draw last Saturday evening at Shandong Stadium.

In a match that saw several scoring opportunities including a shot hitting the crossbar in the final minutes Jiangsu was able to kept the home side at bay and stay undefeated thus far this season. The draw comes as a disappointment to Shandong as the opportunity to win their first home game this year passed them by.

As the popluar saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and Jiangsu manager Dragan Okuka has taken this to heart as he fielded the same lineup for the fifth consecutive match. This 4-3-3 formation has helped Jiangsu to a 2-0-3 (W-L-D) start, the best in the clubs short Chinese Super League history.

The early part of the match saw both teams apply pressure with four corner kicks being awarded in the first five minutes. At the 12-minute mark Jiangsu captian Lu Bofei took a free kick about 18-yards out. His shot went straight into the wall but the rebound came right back to him and his second shot was on target but Shandong keeper Geng Xiaofeng made a diving save.

Jiangsu forced another solid save from Geng in the 24th minute. With the Shandong box packed full of players from both sides several shots and clearance attempts were made but all failed. Finally the ball landed at Ji Xiang’s feet. The Jiangsu midfielder made a worthy attempt on goal but again Geng dove to his right to block the shot.

In the 40th minute Aleksandar Jevtić had a goal called back for being offside. There was little protesting done by any of the Jiangsu players as Jevtić was clearly offside. Later in the second half the offside flag would be raised again when Shandong’s Obina fired a close range shot that Jiangsu keeper Deng Xiaofei did well to deflect.

As the game progressed deep into the second half the home fans grew restless. In the 69th minute when Liu Bofei was taking a free kick somebody launched a plastic bottle from the stands that hit the 32-year old. This childish behavior only managed to take a few more minutes off the clock as Liu complained to the referee.

Roda Antar almost won the game for Shandong in the 87th minute when his header hit the crossbar, but despite the hosts best efforts the Jiangsu defense held firm.

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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