With only two games left in the season amazingly, every single team still has something to play for, be it Asian Champions League, the championship, or relegation. While the title race is still up for grabs in theory, Guangzhou Evergrande looks to have it all but wrapped up. The CSL uses head-to-head records when teams are tied on points, which means that if Guangzhou win tomorrow they will be crowned champions as Sainty could only tie on points with one game left and Evergrande has the superior head-to-head record between the two.
Guangzhou Evergrande, 55 points – remaining matches: vs. Liaoning, @Beijing
Jiangsu Sainty, 52 points – remaining matches: vs. Beijing, @R&F
Could this be the weekend Guangzhou wins the league? The southerners are facing off against Liaoning Whowin, a side that has put together a few decent results recently, but still sits just outside the relegation zone. While they put up a fight against Evergrande in the CFA Cup, it’s hard to imagine them getting a result in Guangzhou. At the same time, Beijing Guoan travels to Nanjing, ready to put up a fight in their efforts to secure an ACL position. With Guangzhou holding the advantage in the tiebreaker as well, they would really have to slip up to not win the title
Asian Champions League
Beijing Guoan, 44 points – remaining matches: @Jiangsu, vs. Evergrande
Guizhou Renhe, 41 points – remaining matches: vs. Tianjin, @Shide
Guangzhou R&F, 41 points – remaining matches: @Qingdao, vs. Jiangsu
Changchun Yatai, 41 points – remaining matches: vs. Hangzhou, @Tianjin
Dalian Aerbin, 40 points – remaining matches: vs. Shenhua, @Hangzhou
Tianjin Teda, 39 points – remaining matches: @Guizhou, vs.Changchun
Beijing is in the driver’s seat right now, but also has the toughest schedule, facing off against Jiangsu this week and then Evergrande next week. There are plenty of teams hoping for Guoan to slip up, amongst those sides Aerbin has the easiest schedule, playing two clubs in the bottom half of the table. Tianjin, the side farthest from an ACL spot also has the hardest route to securing one, playing two clubs that are also battling for an ACL spot. If forced to guess, 45 points is likely what the amount that the team that gets in the ACL will have, however its bound to come down to at least a few tiebreakers. This could get all the more interesting if Guizhou finishes third and is able to win the CFA Cup, leading to the fourth place team getting into Asia.
Shanghai Shenhua, 34 points – remaining matches: @Aerbin, vs. Qingdao
Liaoning Whowin, 33 points – remaining matches: @Evergrande, vs. Shenxin
Qingdao Jonoon, 33 points – remaining matches: vs. R&F, @Shenhua
Hangzhou Greentown, 33 points – remaining matches: @Changchun, vs. Aerbin
Shandong Luneng, 32 points – remaining matches: @Shenxin, vs. Henan
Dalian Shide, 31 points – remaining matches: @Henan, vs. Guizhou
Shanghai Shenxin, 29 points – remaining matches: vs. Shandong, @Liaoning
Henan Construction, 26 points – remaining matches: vs. Shide, @Shandong
The last two matches for these clubs fighting to stay alive are critical, but made all the more so because the bottom four are going head-to-head. Henan is all but dead, but if they win their two remaining matches, they may be able to pull themselves out of relegation and condemn someone else to the China League.
Right now it looks like the teams on 33 points (and most of all Shenhua, on 34 points) are safe, though Liaoning and Hangzhou both have very tough matches remaining. The betting man would say Henan is going down and the other side to go down will probably be on 32 points. We’ll have a much more thorough look at the tiebreakers next week, when the picture will be slightly more clear, but if Henan can beat Dalian this weekend, and Shandong and Shenxin draw, it’s going to make for a crazy last day of the season.