A decisive seventy-seventh minute penalty from Wu Lei helped get the home-coming party started on Sunday as Shanghai East Asia left it late to beat a plucky Chengdu Blades outfit 3-2. The home side could have easily played a second XI now that promotion was assured but instead a full-strength side was sent out to face Chengdu as the home team went about securing their sixteenth win in twenty-eight China League One games.
Infront of a carnival atmosphere going on in the stands, East Asia made the best possible start when with only twelve minutes played, Luis Carlos Cabezas danced his way behind the Chengdu defense and calmly slotted the ball across the penalty box for the onrushing Wu to smash home.
Having played provider for the opener, the Colombian was then able to get his own name on the score sheet two minutes later when a clipped pass from Li Yunqiu set him free down the right hand side of the pitch. With Ying Ting, the defender who should have been marking him caught out of position, Cabezas had an extra couple of seconds to compose himself before deftly firing the ball past the onrushing Chengdu keeper from the edge of the penalty box.
With the game looking over, East Asia should have kept their foot on Chengdu’s throat but instead of putting things to bed, wasteful finishing from Cabezas- and yes, more diving from Wu- derailed the home side’s momentum and let the visitors back into the game.
The first signs of a comeback came on the stroke of halftime when Feng Zhuoyi pounced on a loose ball and fired it home after poor defending from East Asia before the midfielder made it a brace ten minutes into the second half when he got on the end of Zhang Bo’s hopeful cross from just outside of the penalty box.
The home side had to keep their wits about them to gradually steal back control of possession and in one of their increasingly rare forays into the Chengdu box, Ying stupidly tripped up Cabezas, who was going nowhere and was surrounded by at least three defenders.
Having already cost his side one goal, the centerback had not only given away a penalty but managed to get himself sent off after collecting a second yellow card for the challenge. Wu duly buried the penalty and other than one particularly awful Cabezas dive (for which he got a booking), the game was done as a depleted Blades side seemed content to play out the rest of the game without incident.
In other China League One results, Chongqing Lifan’s 3-2 loss to Yanbian meant that Wuhan Zull were promoted with two games to spare. Zull then promptly lost 3-2 to Chongqing FC on Sunday whilst further down the table, there were two eye-opening results- the first was bottom side Beijing Baxy’s 4-0 away victory against local neighbors BIT whilst Shenyang Shenbei beat Shenzhen Ruby 2-1 at home.