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China League One Extra! Picking the best games in Round 24 (Make-Up Matches)

Saturday, September 8th.

Harbin Yiteng (6th) – Wuhan Zull (2nd) 

Having achieved the improbable last week by beating Hunan Xiangtao in Changsha, now Wuhan Zull must continue to defy the odds by travelling to Harbin to take on a Yiteng side that can beat any CL1 team on its day.

Wuhan have put their supporters through a roller coaster ride in recent months- in their last eight games, they have won five and lost a further three, although Zull will be forced to ride this ‘all or nothing’ mentality through this game as well.

The key is going to be how the away team’s defense handles itself against Yiteng, whose all action style of football has helped them score a league best forty-one goals so far this season. Ricardo Steer and Brazilian Rodrigo are both experienced overseas players in Chinese football whilst Lu Yongdi is a mischievous presence in midfield and will cause problems if left unchecked.

Both teams need the victory so a draw seems unlikely with so little time left in the season. Harbin should be the nominal favorites because of their firepower and solid home form but Wuhan will be a very real test for the hosts.

 

Hohhot Dongjin (15th) – Chengdu Blades (10th)

Despite their best efforts, Hohhot simply can’t escape the drop zone and this will be the fourth time they have climbed out of the relegation spots only to be pulled back in by other results elsewhere. The visit of Chengdu means that they now have yet another chance to try and fight their way back into the light.

Both sides have struggled to score goals or stop conceding them so this game could go either way. Hohhot have surprised several teams this season when the latter have made their way to Inner Mongolia but Chengdu will come knowing that a victory could ensue that they can’t get dragged into any last week relegation scares.

That said, with no obvious player that could prove the difference, a game between two clubs that are frantically running out of ideas, it feels like this encounter is destined for a 0-0 draw.

 

Monday, September 11th

Harbin Yiteng (5th) – Fujian Smart Hero (7th)

Harbin’s second game in less than seventy-two hours will see them take on a suddenly resurgent Fujian Smart Hero who have only lost one game in the last three months.

Harbin’s attitude to this fixture will depend on their clash with Wuhan but if the home side beat Zull, they would be able to leap into second place and open up a two point lead over their other rivals for the second and final promotion spot- and should that be the case, Fujian should brace themselves for an all-out onslaught to say the least.

However, the visitors aren’t going to be a push over and having effectively guaranteed their place in CL1 next season, the port city outfit now find themselves eight points away from the promotion places and an unlikely win could move them up to within two additional wins of the promotion places themselves.

Harbin will be the favorites but once again, don’t rule anything out now that the form book counts for nothing in the desperate scramble for promotion

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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