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East Asia share spoils with Fujian after chaotic draw

Shanghai East Asia remains unbeaten and still the top of Chinese League 1 but things could and should have been even better as the home side threw away two precious points in a controversial, frequently farcical 1-1 draw again Fujian Smart Hero.

Fujian had the best chance in the opening ten minutes and the game remained scoreless only after Yan Junling scrambled across his goal line to claw away Han Yanming’s curling free kick from twenty-five yards.

However, after Yan’s highlight real effort, East Asia effectively ran the show for the rest of the game. Lu Wenjun would have put his side up by a goal on the twenty-minute mark had it not been for an equally smart close-range save by Wang Guoming but the hosts were looking in complete control against the longball antics of Fujian.

Indeed, the opening goal would come only ten minutes later when Luis Carlos Cabezas rolled an excellent through ball for Wu Lei to chase into the visitors penalty area. The onrushing Feng Shaoshun, having looked to have nicked the ball off the East Asia midfielder, fluffed his clearance and gifted the ball back to Wu, only to clip the ankle of the latter in ensuing scramble.

A harsh penalty it might have been but regardless, the East Asia player dusted himself off and scored his third penalty in as many home games (and in exactly the same fashion each   bottom right whilst sending the keeper the wrong way).

However, the biggest moment of drama in the first half came with five minutes left before halftime when Yang Fusheng stupidly got his name in the referee’s book for a pointless tug on an East Asia player’s jersey. The defender, having promptly gotten himself cautioned, then evidently said something to the referee as he turned to walk away, and having barely put the card in his pocket, the match official found himself retrieving it again to show the Fujian man his second yellow in under a minute.

Though another seemingly harsh decision against the visitors, what happened next was beyond the realms of acceptability, even in Chinese football. The visitors’ entire coaching staff stormed past the fourth offical and onto the pitch to angrily confront the referee. Within seconds, the coaches had been joined by every Fujian player on the pitch with the exception of Wang, and the referee was surrounded on all sides in a three-man deep circle of players. It took several minutes for the official to get out of the pack and restate that Yang had to leave the pitch.

After a halftime which saw the referee having to be escorted on and off the pitch by his linesmen, the game resumed with East Asia piling on the pressure. Wang had to make excellent saves from Ransford Addo and Wang Shenchao early on in proceedings.

Yet a youthful East Asia demonstrated their inexperience in finishing off teams, and incredibly allowed their guests to equalise midway through the second half when an aimless long ball into the box by Han was headed home by Li Chao, and Fujian had scored out of nothing.

East Asia looked shocked, but pressed forward regardless. Chen Zijie blasted a good chance over the bar from twelve yards after Lu’s freekick bounced around a packed Fujian penalty box.

With injury time approaching, the home side also found themselves a man down after Bai Jiajun picked up a second yellow after a – tackle on a Fujian player. For a second, it looked as if the referee was going to let the offence slide, but the Fujian coaches (who would have surely all been sent to the stands in any other league) again came rushing out to scream at the official, whereupon the young left-back’s marching orders were duly issued.

However, despite being on equal footing, Fujian showed no intention of getting anything out of the game besides what they already had- and at least two players from the away team had to be carted off the pitch on stretchers in a nakedly obvious bid to waste time.

After a further four minutes of injury time that was constantly stopped due to nigglesome fouls from various players on the away side, the full-time whistle blew and the home fans were treated to the odd spectacle of a delighted Sylvano Comvalius piggybacking on his exhausted team mates as if Fujian had just won the league.

In other CS1 scores, Hunan Xingtao’s 2-0 win over Chongqing FC moved them up to second on goal difference ahead of Chengdu, who drew 1-1 at home with Chongqing Lifan. Meanwhile Shenzhen Ruby solidified their position in the chasing pack with a 2-1 over Wuhan Zull.

A passionate fan of the beautiful game, Andrew Crawford has lived a somewhat nomadic existance for the last few years that has involved stays in various corners of Africa, Asia and Europe. His most treasured footballing experiences are watching Hibernian beat Celtic 3-2 in front of a packed Easter Road during his university days and his time as the content writer for Nairobi City Stars, a Nairobi-based team based in the Kawangare slums who play in the Kenyan Premier League. A football polygamist, he always keeps an eye on the fortunes of the various teams who've stole his heart during his childhood and then subsequent manhood; Cambridge United, Ryman League's finest, Bury Town, Hibernian and Nairobi City Stars. Though recently arrived in Shanghai, he has already become addicted to the atmosphere at the Honkou and looks forward to watching his new team at every chance he gets. He is also runs and writes for sharkfinhoops.com, the only English-speaking website about the fortunes of the Shanghai Sharks basketball team. You should check that out as well.

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