Jiangsu Sainty took a 15 game home winning streak into tonight’s match against a weakened Liaoning side and after a tight 1-0 victory, that winning streak remains intact. With top players Yu Hanchao and Pablo Brandan both out due to injuries, the Liaoning midfield was in tatters as it faced a high flying Jiangsu squad.
A year has passed since Jiangsu last lost at Nanjing’s Olympic Stadium. That match, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Liaoning was on April 16, 2011, the winning goal scored by Yu. Without him in the lineup, the visitors resorted to a makeshift midfield that saw Jin Taiyan get a rare start.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the match got off to a very bad start when in the 13th minute, a nice run by Sun Ke was almost stopped by a Ding Jie tackle, though the ball bounced to fellow Jiangsu youngster Ji Xiang who put it in the back of the net.
From there, it was almost all Jiangsu for the next 15 minutes, creating chance after chance and dominating the “Northeastern tigers”, but they couldn’t get on the board again. Liaoning relaxed a little and started pushing forward more, but it was still Jiangsu that produced the best chances of the half.
Things got worse for Liaoning early in the second half when Ding was shown his second yellow card and given his marching papers. Down a goal and a man on the road, Liaoning cold have just packed things up, but instead they went all out and actually started playing better than they did with 11 men. The visitors took over the attack and had a great chance off a corner kick, but Deng Xiaofei saved the rocket shot with ease.
Thus began the final half hour of the match and a series of back and forth attacks/counter attacks. Jiangsu came down the field five minutes later and Cristian Danalache pulled out the keeper before finding Alexsandar Jevtic wide open in the middle, but the Jiangsu striker gave a poor effort, firing well over the bar on an open net.
Liaoning threw everything they had at Jiangsu and came close many times, including once when a beautiful (unintentional?) ball was played in from the right and hit the crossbar, however it wasn’t to be. Despite the loss, their first of the season, Liaoning showed their resilience and gave an impressive performance, especially considering their injury woes.
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