Only two games took place this weekend in the CSL due to the international games, so we got to see the talents of Shanghai East Asia and and absolutely stunning win for Qingdao over form team Tianjin which saw the Shandong province side pull away from the relegation zone.
Liaoning – Shanghai East Asia
The game in Liaoning on Friday was not the most interesting one this season. Shanghai East Asia were without their star player Wu Lei, who is with the national team at present, and in the first half, the team suffered two injuries as well, so some of their young talents from their Academy on Chongming Island were given a run-out.
Tactically the game was not interesting to analyze due to a lot of mistakes, low tempo, and two teams with little motivation to really fight for the three points due to their league positions safe in no-mans-land. Liaoning came in a 4-4-2 formation, while East Asia continued with their 4-2-3-1, but not many chances were created.
It is always interesting to scout on the next generation and East Asia had a few ‘young guns’ in their team this evening. Number 11 Fu Huan played left full back and he did a fine job. A relatively big player for a full back position, his speed is good, he seems solid with the ball, and made only a few passing mistakes during the game. Right now number 18 Sun Kai should be the first choice on the left full back, but hopefully Fu Huan will put pressure on him next season claiming the spot.
As a winger we saw number 13 Zheng Dalun. A very fast player with dribbling skills and flair, but we also saw some classic young player mistakes in his decision making. This is the most difficult area for a young player coming up. “When to do what” – basically said. And Zheng Dalun tried a few times to dribble against 2-3 opponents and of course he and the team lost the ball, so he needs to learn from his mistakes.
We have already seen number 15 Lin Chuangyi this season, but it was good to see him in 75 minutes. A technically good player – best as an offensive midfielder or fake winger with a good touch on the ball and he can finish as well with both feet.
But in general a very poor and uninteresting game, Liaoning won 1-0, but it was still good to see the next generation from the Xu Genbao football school.
First win in 17 games for Qingdao
Changchun are deep in the relegation zone after a totally unexpected win for Qingdao on Saturday against Tianjin TEDA. A poor, messy, and unpredictable game saw TEDA take the lead, but Qingdao out of nothing scored 4 goals in the last 23 minutes.
Due to the teams terrible winless run, Qingdao moved the central midfielder number 24 Gabriel Melkam into central defense next to the captain number 17 Liu Jian. This change gave Qingdao some more physical presence in the central area of the defense, but also a player who is calm with the ball and can play the it forward to keep possession in longer periods for Qingdao. So a correct change by the head coach Goran Stevanovic.
A football team is like a house construction where you need the foundation to be solid as step number one to make the building secure, and then you can build the rest of the house. And 24 Melkam and 17 Jian are a solid foundation to build on.
The summer signing of Australian Joel Griffiths has also proven to be a top signing by Qingdao. When a team like Qingdao is in deep trouble like right now, you need a few mentally very strong players to step up, ask for the ball and show the rest which way the team are going. And Griffiths showed from the beginning of the match that he has the right mentality. He won a lot of free kicks, showed an aggressive attitude and was shouting to his teammates to step up. And of course in the end Griffiths scored two goals as well, so he was also crucial as regards the bottom line.
Qingdao were playing almost in a 4-3-3 formation. Griffiths as the right winger had big problems creating chances, but after the equalizer – the team gained momentum and in the end it was 4-1 – even without a good performance. So Qingdao is above the relegation zone with only three matches to go, and we will have a very interesting fight to see who finally goes down.
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