Another week, another frustrating game for Shanghai East Asia. The seemingly perpetual China League One leaders drew 1-1 away with Fujian Smart Hero in a relatively dull clash that the visitors needed to win but ultimately seemed happy to draw.
Fujian came into the game with a marginally better run of recent results and for the first fifteen minutes looked like the better side. East Asia’s Yan Junling had to be on top form to keep Johnny Woodly’s powerful shot from finding its way into the back of the net midway through the first half and for a while, things looked omnious for the away team.
However, woken from their slumber following their keeper’s acrobatics, East Asia then immediately took the lead when Wu Lei sliced the Fujian defense open with a beautiful pass before Zhen Zhengrong ran on to it and dispatched the ball firmly past the onrushing Wang Guomin. The goal- scored in the twenty-fifth minute- came out of nowhere and as well giving East Asia the lead, underlined the talent within the away side that has otherwise been dampened by lethargy in recent weeks.
Yet East Asia weren’t going be in the lead for long and with halftime approaching, Fujian were given a golden opportunity to get back in the game when Bruno Camacho mistimed a challenge in the area and gifted the home side a penalty. Woodly, having gone close earlier, wasn’t going to turn his nose up at a second opportunity to get on the score sheet and coolly tied the game up from twelve yards out.
The halftime whistle followed soon after but even when the sides returned after the break, there was little for either set of fans to get excited about until the eighty-fifth minute when Wang was sent off for handling the ball outside the area.
Yet- somewhat predictably – East Asia couldn’t break the deadlock with the time they had left to them. When the full-time whistle blew, the visitors had drawn yet another game and in doing so, dropped another two points in a promotion race that is now completely up for grabs. East Asia, who have only won two out of their last nine games must now come good in Shanghai against Tianjin Songjiang on Sunday or else their control of first place in CL1 might be in real danger.
In other CL1 results, Tianjin moved up to second place in the table after beating Beijing Baxy in the capital. Hunan Xiangtao slipped to third after drawing 1-1 with Chongqing FC whilst the latter’s cross town neighbors, Chongqing Lifan beat Chengdu Blades 3-1 to move up to fourth in the table.