A deft tactical decision and another timely goal from captain Wang Shenchao, this time in the thirty-sixth minute of the game, was all it took to give Shanghai East Asia the victory they needed to over Beijing Institute of Technology and confirm top spot in the 2012 China League One standings.
Taking on a limited and indecisive visiting outfit, the home side didn’t have to work too hard for their seventeenth win of the season but manager Jiang Bingyao still deserves credit for noticing and exploiting a weakness in the BIT line-up that led to the only goal of the game.
Having started the game with Wang in the center of defense along with Ransford Addo, Jiang quickly noticed something wasn’t right with the visitors formation and with twenty-minutes played, decided to substitute starting left-back Li Cheng and move the team captain there instead.
Jiang’s canny decision would pay off big time ten minutes before until half-time when Luis Carlos Cabezas calmly brought the ball into the penalty box after a swift counter attack from East Asia, and having shepherded the two remaining BIT defenders towards him, knocked the ball into the path of the naturally attacking Wang, who had just cut inside the area himself.
Having taken a touch to steady himself, Wang then fired the ball briskly past the onrushing Liu Tianxin and a fine move that began at one end of the pitch and ended at the other resulted in great team goal for the hosts.
This would be as good as it got for the game- East Asia seemed content to keep possession for the rest of the fixture whilst BIT’s players were meekly chasing the ball with the sort of effort that suggested they knew results in other games were going their way and that the away side were safe from relegation.
Cabezas would hit the post after a winding, stumbling run across the eighteen-yard box whilst Matias Alonso should have done better with his open header from eight yards out but ultimately neither team seemed to care about the game for the last twenty minutes.
The full-time whistle was met with jubilation from the home fans, who could now celebrate their first place finish. With no more East Asia games in Shanghai until 2013, this was a perfect way to finish the year and both players and fans can now turn their eyes towards the new world waiting for them in the Chinese Super League.
In other CL1 scores, Wuhan Zall relegated Hohhot Dongjin after beating the league’s bottom side 2-1 whilst Beijing Baxy also confirmed their own place in the Chinese third tier next season after losing 3-0 to Guangdong Sunray Cave.