Despite scoring two goals in Shandong Luneng’s 4-1 defeat of Wuhan Zall on Sunday, experienced forward Han Peng was unusually restrained in his celebrations—something the player attributes as a mark of respect to former manager Ljubisa Tumbakovic.
Tumbakovic, a winner of two league titles with Shandong between 2004 and 2009, recently returned to China to manage Wuhan, and was presented with a souvenir shirt by his former side ahead of the fixture on Sunday.
Han Peng, who played under the Serbian for the entirety of his spell at the club, thus insisted that it would not have been right for him to celebrate his two strikes.
“Because the opponent was Tumba, I didn’t celebrate the goal like normal,” he told Sohu Sports. “After all, he coached us all those years, so I was a bit lower key after the goals. I didn’t want to make a big public celebration in order to respect him.”
The 29-year-old forward has been in good form this season to score seven times in just six league appearances, in stark contrast to his travails in 2012.
Despite not being a regular starter, behind Romanian Marius Niculae and international colleague Yang Xu, Han insists he is not worried by coach Rade Antic’s selection policy.
“The coach’s principal is, whoever’s condition is best will play,” he continued. “There is no diffencial between first choice and reserve.”
Han is yet to complete 90 minutes for his side this season, but boasts an impressive record of 87 goals in 191 appearances since the Chinese Super League’s foundation in 2004.