The two kick-offs opening Round 27 of the CSL at 3.30 pm on Saturday had implications for the race to secure ACL football next season, and they also provided plenty of goals.
Guizhou Renhe FC – Shanghai Shenhua 4:2 (2:0)
Guizhou Renhe run out as deserving 4:2 winners with a convincing home victory against Shanghai Shenhua. Prior to the match the Shanghai team managed to remain undefeated in competitive matches since Didier Drogba put on the club’s jersey for the first time. Guizhou’s clinical, disciplined and tactically astute performance, with beautiful moves at times, proved to be too much for a Shenhua side that had nothing to play for in Guiyang. At least, Shanghai’s attack produced two goals in front of their away followers.
In the 5th minute Renhe’s goalkeeper Zhang Lie was forced to pull out a great save to stop a close range shot from Shenhua. With a clean strike Guizhou was the first team to find the back of the net. Spaniard Rafa Jorda took his chance from close range to make home fans cheer. Dino Dulbic managed to double the tally before half-time. Close to the hour-mark Zhang Chenglin’s added a third goal to make it 3:0. Joel Griffiths’ goal for Shanghai a few minutes later proved only to deliver short-lived hope before all points were finally out of reach in the 78th minute after Shen Tianfeng capitalized from a blunder among the visitor’s back line to take the score to 4:1. Didier Drogba’s goal in the dying minutes did not do enough to change matters substantially.
Dalian Aerbin – Beijing Guo’an 3:1 (2:0)
In the other afternoon match taking place at Dalian’s Jinzhou Stadium, Beijing Guo’an experienced another dose of away day blues when Aerbin kept all three points in the city.
Dalian Aerbin scored twice in the first half. Goals were provided by Malian midfielder Seydou Keita and Nigerian striker John Utaka, scoring in the 36th and 6th minute of time added-on respectively. This didn’t change much after the interval and more misery was heaped on Guo’an when Utaka scored his second of the afternoon in the 74th minute. The 3:1 consolation for Beijing stemmed from an own goal by Wang Hongyou in the 86th minute.
Liaoning Whowin – Dalian Shide 3:2 (2:1)
Switched on floodlights provided an electrifying atmosphere when Liaoning Whowin met with fellow former powerhouse Dalian Shide at Shenyang’s Tiexi Stadium for a Saturday evening kick-off to compete for the spoils in the Liaoning Province Derby. The Shenyang team won the game 3:2 while the visitors left the match empty-handed and returned to their coastal home with concerns about relegation in their luggage.
It took Yu Hanchao only two minutes to find the net for the home side. Shide’s plight became more desperate when Lu Peng scored an own goal in the 24th minute to make it 2:0 for Whowin. Moments before half-time, Dalian’s spirits rose when James Chamanga scored his first goal of the evening. In the second half, it took until the 77th minute before a strike by Milos Trifunovic finally calmed the nerves of the home support. James Chamanga scored his second of the night deep into time added-on to make it a final score of 3:2.
Qingdao Jonoon – Jiangsu Sainty 1:0 (1:0)
Over in Shandong, Qingdao managed to score the only goal of the evening to keep the maximum amount of points at the seaside. This earned the team another famous victory at their fortress Tiantai Stadium. Aziz Ibragimov, Jonoon’s midfielder from Uzbekistan fired a ball from outside the penalty area towards goal, managing successfully to rush it past everyone and behind the goal line in the 36th minute.
Shanghai Shenxin – Tianjin Teda 0:1 (0:0)
Tianjin’s Serbian striker Vladimir Jovancic was the only player whose effort managed to cross a goal line at Jinshan. Shenxin, however, threw everything into the ring and had two goals disallowed by the referee. Thanks to incredible goalkeeping, Yang Qipeng had a magical night between the sticks in Shanghai, Teda took all three points from the game.
Changchun Yatai – Guangzhou R&F 2:1 (1:1)
Action on Sunday afternoon resumed with Guangzhou R&F’s loss at northernmost Changchun Yatai. The win means that on-form Changchun is maintaining an outside chance to earn ACL football next season. Matters for R&F, on the other hand, to play in the ACL next year get more complicated.
In front of the lowest attendance of match day 27, the goals for the home side came from Wang Dong and Liu Weidong (28th and 69th minute respectively). Zhang Yuan scored an equalizer for the visitors towards the end of the first half.
Henan Jianye – Hangzhou Lucheng 1:3 (0:2)
An early goal of Cao Xuan in the 12th minute increased the burden of pressure on bottom club Henan’s shoulders. Renatinho’s goal, the second one for Hangzhou on the night, from ten minutes before the interval, lifted the spirits of the Greentown team and their Japanese manager Okada. A goal from Henan’s Sambian striker Christopher Katongo in the 71st minute proved not to be enough to put sufficient wind into the sails of the home team to take anything away from this fixture. Instead, it was a late penalty converted by Hangzhou’s Wang Song in the 88th minute that sealed matters. Hangzhou traveled back to Zhejiang with all three points in the bag.
Guangzhou Evergrande – Shandong Luneng 3:2 (1:1)
The game between Guangzhou Evergrande, unfortunate to get knocked out of the ACL during midweek, and Shandong Luneng, proved to be a mouth-watering encounter to finish this round of the CSL. The two teams faced each other in front of the highest attendance of this weekend at Tianhe Stadium. In the end Evergrande managed to beat Shandong with 3:2, courtesy of a Lucas Barrios header in the 81st minute. The striker from Paraguay proves to be in fine-form for the last couple of games.
In a high-tempo match, both teams had opportunities. Evergrande’s Brazilian striker Cleo broke the deadlock after 26 minutes when the home team tried to mend hearts that were breaking during midweek. Luneng proved to be worthy opposition though, ventured forward on many occasions and managed to level the match in the 36th minute when Brazilian striker Gilberto Macena was able to score. Shandong even missed further opportunities before half-time.
Ten minutes after the interval, it was Evergrande’s Zheng Zhi who helped to put his team on the front foot. Luneng continued with their attacking football and eventually leveled affairs again, this time the goal came from veteran striker Han Peng who found the net for the 2010 CSL-champions in the 67th minute. But Barrios goal proved to be too much for the visitors.