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Wu Lei hat-trick as East Asia hit Shenxin for six

Shanghai Shenxin 1-6 Shanghai East Asia

China Super League Round 12

Wang Yun 60′; Wu Lei 17′ 38′ 80′, Lv Wenjun 50′ 83′, Zhu Zhenrong 70′

Attacking midfielder Wu Lei hit his first Chinese Super League hat-trick on Sunday evening to help his Shanghai East Asia side to a stunning 6-1 away win over hapless local rivals Shanghai Shenxin.

Heading into the game off the back of five consecutive league defeats, few expected East Asia to be much of a challenge for in-form home side Shenxin. However, Gao Hongbo’s side turned the form book on its head with a performance that brought rewards for the lively attacking play that they have demonstrated all season.

The charge was led by 21-year-old Wu, who celebrated his recent call up to the national team with a return to form in front of goal. With three more goals to his name, Wu becomes the highest scoring Chinese player in the top-flight once more, with eight goals in his 10 league appearances to date.

The first of his three goals after 10 minutes was the game’s only point of contention, with his miscued volley creeping in the bottom corner as a clearly offside Wang Shenchao obscured the goalkeeper’s view. It would not matter much, though, as Wu doubled the lead before half-time with a towering header from a wonderful Ye Yunqiu cross from the right flank.

Shortly after the break, East Asia would take a three goal lead as the ever-lively Lv Wenjun capitalised on an embarrassing slip from Brazilian Antonio Flavio to slot the ball past the helpless Liu Dianzuo. Even when Wang Yun was able to pull a goal back for Shenxin a few minutes later, the respite would not last long.

Having pulled one back, Shenxin had begun to look threatening, and when Kieza struck the post with a neat left-footed effort it had briefly looked as though East Asia may need to protect their lead.

The youthful visitors, though, had other ideas, and Zhu Zhenrong became the third Chinese member of his side’s attacking unit to get on the scoresheet as he placed a low shot from the edge of the area into the far post.

Rejuvenated once more, and with Shenxin now visibly flagging following their brief revival, Wu Lei soon completed his hat-trick in unusual style. Having been fouled, Lv Wenjun saw the opportunity for a quick free-kick and lofted a diagonal pass over the defence to where Wu was waiting to rise high and head the ball over the advancing goalkeeper into the empty net.

As if the embarrassment wasn’t enough, with the score already at 5-1, Lv still found time to get his name on the scoresheet once more in the closing minutes as he drove a powerful strike home at the near post from the edge of the box.

Shenxin will be left with plentiful questions about the standard of their defending and goalkeeping on the night, but for East Asia’s vibrant attacking trio it was an opportunity well taken.

With 16 goals between them this campaign, Lv Wenjun, Wu Lei and Zhu Zhenrong have scored all but one of their side’s league goals this season—as many as the total goals scored by all but five Super League sides.

Shanghai Shenxin: Liu Dianzuo; Zou Zhongting (Zhao Zuojun 89′), Ge Zhen (Jiang Xiaochen 53′), Johnny, Jiang Zhipeng; Yu Tao, Liu Junnan (Xu Wen 72′), Antonio Flavio, Zhu Baojie; Wang Yun; Kieza.

Shanghai East Asia: Sun Le; Li Yunqiu, Addo, Cuadrado, Wang Shenchao; Wang Jiajie, Cai Huikang; Lv Wenjun, Wu Lei (Mao Jiakang 86′), Zhu Zhenrong (Wu Yuyin 91′); Cabezas (Sun Kai 73′).

Based in Guangzhou, Christopher covers Chinese football for a range of media outlets worldwide and is Wild East Football's lead editor for news content.   His work can regularly be seen on ESPN FC, Bleacher Report and Hupu amongst other media outlets, while he has interviewed a number of leading figures in Chinese football.

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