The Chinese Super League is back, with a full round of games getting the domestic league season underway this weekend. As ever, Wild East Football is here to keep you up to date with all the goings on from across the division, with our correspondents covering games all around the country once more in 2014.
How, then, have sides fared in Round 1 of the 2014 CSL so far:
Shandong Luneng 1-0 Harbin Yiteng (Click for full report)
It was not meant to be a difficult tie, yet expected title challengers Shandong Luneng were forced to wait until the final minute to secure victory over 10-man Harbin Yiteng in their season opener.
A deflected long-range effort from Junior Urso, perhaps Luneng’s only stand-out player on the night, secured success in the final minute. However, it was the newly promoted visitors who leave with their reputation enhanced.
Despite fielding a weakened line-up, Guangzhou Evergrande ran out comfortable winners over Henan Jianye in the second fixture of the 2014 China Super League.
Last year’s China League One champions gave a good account of themselves, but both Evergrande debutantes scored as three second half goals secured the perfect start on Saturday afternoon.
Beijing Guoan didn’t deliver the dominant performance their fans had hoped for, but got their CSL season off to a good start taking all three points against Changchun Yatai at the Workers’ Stadium.
The game’s only goal came late deep into the second half, near the 70th minute mark, following a beautiful piece of individual skill on the right-wing from Zhang Chengdong. He centered the ball to new signing Pablo Batalla, who easily slid the ball past the keeper, starting his Guoan career off with a bang.
High-profile signing Dejan Damjanovic missed a golden chance late in the game in Nanjing, as Guizhou Renhe managed to escape with a point against a much improved Jiangsu Sainty side.
Having gained a reputation for dull, uninspiring play, Jiangsu took the field in a new 3-5-2 formation and used their strength in midfield numbers to recycle possession well and maintain a measure of control throughout.
It was only in the 84th minute that their best opportunity of the match would come, with Damjanovic heading over unmarked from the centre of the penalty area. Guizhou ‘keeper Zhang Lie was also forced into a fine save from Brazilian forward Elias who came close to a stunning debut goal, with the game ultimately ending scoreless.
Hangzhou Greentown 1-1 Dalian Aerbin
Saturday’s clash between Hangzhou and Dalian Aerbin saw honours end even in Zhejiang, following goals from Wang Song and Bruno Meneghel respectively.
Both sides will feel disappointed to have missed out on three points in a game that could have gone either way. However, with little quality displayed by either side, a draw was perhaps the fairest result.
Belgian striker Kevin Oris made immediate headlines upon his Chinese Super League debut, scoring with his arm to see Liaoning to a 1-1 draw with a vibrant Shanghai East Asia side in Panjin.
Oris’ strike gave the hosts an early lead but the visitors were able to pull level before half-time thanks to the ever threatening Wu Lei. The China forward would later hit the post, but was unable to stop the match ending in a point apiece for both sides.
New signing Gao Di was the hero for Shanghai Shenhua in their first match under new ownership, with the traditional giants maintaining their dominance in local derby fixtures with a 2-0 win over neighbours Shenxin.
Gao, recently signed from Shandong Luneng, struck twice to ensure what was ultimately a comfortable victory for his side.
An injury time effort from captain Wang Xinxin ensured that Arie Haan’s second stint in charge of Tianjin Teda started with a point, having fallen behind to an early goal from Guangzhou R&F midfielder Davi.
Tianjin, in truth, dominated long periods of the game but enjoyed little luck in the final third, hitting both the post and the crossbar as they searched for an equaliser. Wang, though, was on hand to head home Du Zhenyu’s cross and security a late confidence boost.