Shanghai East Asia finally reasserted themselves on proceedings in China League One after a comfortable 3-0 victory over their hosts, Yanbian Tigers. The league leaders were good value for their victor y- their first in four games – and will now hope that Saturday’s win marks the start of a new winning streak rather than a brief upturn in their fortunes.
The opening exchanges of the game were nervy ones as the guests pushed forward but with no real conviction as they tried to get a good read on the counter-attacking instincts of a Yanbian Tigers outfit that have proved themselves to be legitimate giant killers when playing at home this season.
The cat-and-mouse game would continue until the twenty-sixth minute when East Asia finally crafted a decent chance after Wang Jiajie sent a ball into the box from mid-range. Zhen Zhengrong, East Asia’s increasingly vital striker was on hand to riffle home the ball from close range and with the simplest of chances, the visitors were ahead.
There were more minor opportunities to come in the half but East Asia had made the most of their clearest one and went into the interval with a 1-0 lead and the wind decisively in their sails.
That said, Yanbian came back strongly in the second half and seemingly had the away side against the ropes for a prolonged period of time.
However, as determined as the hosts looked, they were unable to get past an inspired Sun Yue in the East Asia goal. Sun, who had been at fault for two goals in his side’s 3-3 draw with Shenzhen Ruby was in inspired form this time around and having already made a couple of smart saves, came through for his team at a critical time when a needless foul in the box gave Yanbian a penalty and the chance to square the game midway into the second half.
With the dangerous Xu Bo stepping up to take the penalty, it seemed almost a certainty that the striker was going to score but the Yanbian player’s effort was well saved by Sun, who gleefully snatched at his chance at redemption following his horror show two weeks ago.
Utterly deflated, Yanbian lost all their built-up momentum and soon after the penalty miss, East Asia finally got their second goal of the afternoon when Luis Carlos Cabezas was in the right place at the right time to finish off a ruthless counter attack.
There were still more East Asia goals to come and have already scored one, Cabezas doubled his tally for the day with four minutes left of regular time when he collected a hopeful pass from midfield, sprinted away from his marker and coolly rounded the Yanbian keeper to make it 3-0 and put the game beyond doubt.
The full-time whistle shortly followed and an elated East Asia team could finally celebrate another victory that was a long time in coming. The scoreline will imply that the praise should go to Zhen and Cabezas but Sun in the away goal deserves just as much credit for the victory after the keeper’s reflexes got his side out of jail.
In other CL1 results, Wuhan Zull lost control of second place after losing 1-0 to Guangdong Sunray Cave whilst Chris Killen scored the only goal in Chongqing FC’s 1-0 victory over Shenzhen. Meanwhile, Hunan Xiangtao reclaimed second place in the table after cruising past Beijing Baxy 3-0 in the capital.