Easy come, easy go. Shanghai East Asia’s seven game winning streak is over in China League One after a gutsy Chongqing Lifan outfit put on a show to win 3-1 and in doing so help the home side get back in the running for a promotion spot into the Chinese Super League.
Both sides were keen to seize the initiative from the beginning and after trading a couple of minor chances at goal, Lifan’s Brendan Santalab brought the best out of Yan Junling with a decent effect on goal with thirteen minutes played.
This was as close as it would come for either team although there was some drama on the stroke of halftime when Augusto picked up Wang Fan’s through ball and appeared to be fouled in the box. However, the forward had been ruled offside at the same moment that he was fouled and after some deliberation between the referee and his assistant, the former- having blown for a penalty- duly changed his mind and awarded the free kick to East Asia instead.
East Asia would not be so lucky in the second half and barely ten minutes after the restart, Nei was on hand to score the game’s first goal after Augusto had burst into the penalty area and squared the ball across the box for his fellow Brazilian.
Startled, the visitors frantically made a substitution to freshen up their attacking options and it paid off instantly. Zhen Zhengrong, who had barely made his way onto the pitch, was still sharp enough to retain his focus and slot home the equaliser after being played through on goal by Li Yunqiu’s excellent pass.
There were still more goals to come and Lifan made it 2-1 when their Paraguayan defender, Nelson Cabera powered a header past Yan and minutes after levelling the game, suddenly East Asia were once again staring at only their second defeat in sixteen games.
A frenetic six minutes had produced three goals but there was still one more to come. Having held firm against East Asia’s increasing desperate attacks at goal, Lifan once again showed their ruthless side and having broken on the counter attack, Nei was the man on the spot to firmly send the ball beyond the stranded Yan. It was the striker’s second goal and made the scoreline, 3-1 and decisively end the game as a contest.
Beaten at a critical time in their season, only Hunan Xiangtao’s unexpected 1-1 draw against Shenyang Shenbei saved East Asia from further embarrassment. The league leaders still retain a six point lead at the top but they have now got their fingers burned. If they wish to remain in pole position in CS1, they will need to bounce back and quickly.
In other CS1 results, Phillippe Troussier found his job security becoming even more tenuous after Shenzhen Ruby lost 2-0 at home to third from bottom, Beijing Baxy. Meanwhile, Tianjin Songjiang retain their narrow grip of third place in the table after a last minute goal from Liu Tao gave the home side a 1-0 home win against Guangdong Sunray Cave.