For the third game in a row, Shanghai East Asia threw away the chance to extend their lead at the top of China League One. This time, a 1-0 loss to then second-from-bottom Shenyang Shenbei condemned the league leaders to their second loss in three games (the other being a draw).
With all of the other contenders for promotion slipping up over the course of the last three weeks, East Asia should have had at least a double-digit lead in the CL1 standings by this point. Instead they have thrown away yet another chance to increase their advantage at the top and should they not get promoted this season, the Shanghainese side will only have themselves to blame.
In terms of the game itself, the omens didn’t look good for the visitors, who struggled to find any sort of composure amidst an incredible downpour of rain that in other leagues would have caused the game to be called off.
With the pitch became more and more waterlogged, the guests seemed completely out of their comfort zone and Shenbei must have sensed East Asia were there for the taking. Indeed, with fourteen minutes on the clock, Shenbei’s experienced Brazilian striker, Jose Duarte, having drifted into the penalty box, was on hand to firmly finish off a flowing team move from the home side and suddenly East Asia had it all to do.
As the rain continued to come crashing down, neither side could muster anything approaching a decent attack on the other’s goal and instead both had to resort to hopeful long range shots that struggled to even stay on target.
With Shenbei still leading 1-0 after the first forty-five minutes, the second half was just as heavy-duty as the one it preceded. With the elements successfully destroying any attempts at playing football, all that both teams could do was to fight gamely in the mud.
Lei Yongchi could have doubled the home side’s lead in the dying seconds of the game but his misdirected shot ultimately failed to justify the build-up.
The full-time whistle blew shortly afterwards leaving the guests to trudge off the pitch wearily whilst Shenbei climbed out of the relegation zone following Duarte’s opportunistic strike.
In other results in CL1, Tianjin Songjiang lost 1-0 away to Shenzhen Ruby whilst Hunan Xiangtao fell by the same score line to struggling Fujian Smart Hero. Wuhan Zull beat Beijing Baxy 3-1 in the capital and in doing so, the former moved up to second in the table whilst the latter were condemned to the bottom of the league following Hohhot Dongjin’s 4-0 thrashing of Guangdong Sunray Cave.