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League leaders Shandong deliver Liaoning’s first defeat

Shandong Luneng 3-1 Liaoning Whowin
Chinese Super League Round 6
Pisculichi 1′, Wang Yongpo 20′, 24′; James Chamanga 26′
Attendance: 31,931

Liaoning Whowin’s undefeated record came to an end after 90 minutes on Saturday, as Shandong Luneng scored an impressive win over Liaoning. The win moved Shandong to the top of the table and shows the svelter Wang Yongpo’s success last season was not an anomaly.

For Shandong, the move to the Olympic Stadium has been a good one, with large crowds coming out and supporting the Jinan side, on Saturday it was all orange as over 30,000 came out to watch the match. The home side didn’t disappoint, getting off to a rip roaring start when rarely seen Leonardo Pisculichi found himself in space and ripped a long shot from 20 meters out past keeper Zhang Lu. After a number of great performances, Zhang looked fairly ordinary on the day.

Liaoning tried to strike back almost immediately, though Jin Taiyan was determined to be offside, a questionable call. On the 20 minute mark, Shandong struck again, Pisculichi crossed from left to right and found Wang Yongpo all alone, his shot hit the near post and went in. A defensive error almost saw Shandong go up by three, though Yang Xu’s shot was saved easily. Zhang’s insistance on Liaoning slowing down and regrouping didn’t help much, as moments later the home side would get their third, coming from a Wang free kick in the 24th minute.

The visitors didn’t give up, on the half hour mark Edu delivered a beautiful free kick to James Chamanga, who was wide open and one touched it past the keeper. He may have been offside, but after the earlier call, it was only fair play. The goal energized Liaoning, who started pushing back, from a corner kick Edu headed towards goal, the keeper saved it but the ball fell to Pablo Brandan, though his point blank shot flew just over the cross bar. The pressure mounted, but Liaoning was unable to cut the two goal deficit.

Despite the end-to-end action and four goals in the first half, the second was far more tame, as the fight seemed to have gone out of Liaoning. Indeed, Shandong had the better of chances in the second half as it simply wasn’t Liaoning’s day. Even in extra time, an Edu free kick hit the post, and Liaoning missed from point blank once again, this time it was Shavkat Mullajanov.

Losing its first match of the year, Liaoning now must host the other Shandong side, Qingdao, during the holiday weekend, while league leaders Shandong travel to Hangzhou.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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