Dalian Aerbin 3-3 Shanghai East Asia
Chinese Super League Round 3
Peter Utaka ’21, ’34, Guillaume Hoarau ’52; Zhu Zhengrong ’19, ’59, Wu Lei ’57;
“We need at least three games to get used to it”, stated East Asia Manager Gao Hongbo ahead of Shanghai’s match in Dalian.
In their CSL Round 3 match, Shanghai East Asia ran into another hot pick from the league – Dalian Aerbin. Before the start of the 2013 season, Aerbin were considered one of the few teams who could be able to mount a challenge against Guangzhou Evergrande for the CSL title. Aerbin managed to build on last season’s squad, keeping former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita and striker Peter Utaka – who scored 9 goals in 8 games last season, and adding Paris Saint-Germain striker Guillaume Hoarau who made his debut in this match.
The two China internationals, Yu Hanzhao and Chen Tao, also featured in the home side’s line-up, with another international Yu Dabao (who scored China’s winner against Iraq during the international break) in attack completed the line-up. In terms of quality in attack, Dalian appear to have the potential to challenge Evergrande in the CSL this year.
At the beginning of the first half, while Aerbin’s attacking combination kept threatening East Asia, its high defensive line failed to stop East Asia’s Zhu Zhengrong from opening the scoring from the middle of the box. However, East Asia perhaps lacking experience only led for three minutes. Yu Hanchao was fouled by East Asia’s central defender Addo in the box and a penalty was awarded to Aerbin. Utaka stepped up to score and make it 1:1.
On 35 minutes, Aerbin took another chance scored from a corner attack and again, it was Utaka. He took an unsuccessful clearance from East Asia’s Goalkeeper Yan Junling and shot right into the net.
At the beginning of the second half, Hoarau took a long ball from play-maker Keita and ran into the box to score with a low shot. That meant three goals in a row for Aerbin, and seemingly game over for East Asia. However, slack play at the back would let the Shanghai side back in.
Wu Lei hit back for East Asia just five minutes after Utaka’s goal, which inspired a fight back. Zhu Zhengrong got the equalizer just two minutes after that, winning a battle against Aerbin’s center defender Zhao Hejing to make it two goals in two minutes for East Asia.
Aerbin laid siege to East Asia’s goal for much of the rest of the game, but after wasting several opportunities, the game ended 3:3.
East Asia accomplished their mission to take one point away from Dalian and by looking at Aerbin, who can only have been bitterly disappointed not to take three points despite holding a two goal lead at home.
After a mere three rounds, East Asia remains the only team to have had all its goals scored by Chinese players. Whilst this is a big compliment to the team’s domestic players, it perhaps raised some questions of its foreign contingent. At any rate it was a very impressive comeback for East Asia as they continue to find their feet in the CSL.
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