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Chinese Super League

Wuhan Relegated as Draw Deepens Qingdao Worries

Qingdao Jonoon 0 – 0 Wuhan Zall

China Super League Round 27

A superb 88th minute save from Wu Yan earned Wuhan only their third away point of the year but it wasn’t enough to save them from relegation. Qingdao had plenty of opportunities to score but couldn’t find a way past Wu and will be worried about joining Wuhan in China League One next year.

A fired up Gabriel Melkam tried to get the home support going and his side almost got off to a flying start but Zhu Jianrong’s overhead kick was tipped over the bar by Wuhan keeper Wu Yan. Song Wenjie and Li Zhuangfei later saw their headers land on the roof of the net as Qingdao piled on the pressure. Wuhan’s Malian forward Garra Dembele was isolated upfront and their best chance of the first half came from a well worked freekick move but Li Wei’s shot was off target.

The second half continued where the first had left off as Wuhan were pressed back but remained level thanks to poor finishing from Qingdao, a couple of crucial sliding blocks by Luo Yi and some good saves from Wu. There was another let off for them when centre back Qiu Tuanyi let a long ball bounce and then just as it seemed that Zhu Jianrong would beat him to the ball, the Wuhan man appeared to push Zhu over inside the box. The crowd howled for a penalty but the referee was unmoved.

Wuhan only had 33% possession but almost took the lead completely against the run of play as Dembele’s cross found Milos Stojanovic but the Serbian’s header went agonisingly wide of the far post. Dembele was the most threatening player on the pitch even if he was strangely reluctant to shoot and a couple of miscontrols let him down. Tellingly, whilst the crowd jeered these there were no Qingdao defenders close enough to the lone striker to even attempt a tackle after the Malian’s two mistakes.

Wuhan Zall are relegated from the top flight for the third time in fifteen years.

Wuhan Zall are relegated from the top flight for the third time in fifteen years.

Those in the East stand had to contend with the sun shining straight into their faces for the first seventy minutes and as it disappeared behind the West stand and the floodlights flickered into life, both the Qingdao players and fans roused themselves for a final assault. Captain Li Jian’s weak header went wide and Argentinian midfielder Caballero’s shot on the turn was easily saved by Wu. Second half substitute Joel Griffiths came closest to scoring as his shot from outside the area hit the far post with keeper Wu for once beaten. He wouldn’t be beaten by Liu’s 88th minute header at the far post though and that save may mean that this fixture will be on the China League One list next year.

Donald began following Guangzhou R&F having moved to China in the same year that R&F moved to Guangzhou. The club’s first foreign season ticket holder, Donald was able to watch three seasons at Yuexiushan before returning to the UK.

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