Week 4 saw the top of the table get ever tighter, with the top four teams separated by just two points. As ever, Wild East Football keeps 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.
Let’s take a look at this week’s action in the CSL:
Shandong Luneng 1-0 Liaoning Whowin
The hosts, Shandong, thought they’d got off to the perfect start when they scored inside 3 minutes, only to have forward Yang Xu’s goal disallowed. The teams traded chances throughout the first half but some good goalkeeping kept the score at 0-0.
Minutes before halftime, Shandong’s Brazilian talisman, Vagner Love, broke the deadlock with a beautiful first touch from a long free kick, before sliding the ball home to make it 1-0. The second half was dominated by the team in orange with their best chance falling once again to Love. The big forward angled a header towards the top corner, only to be denied by Lioaning’s keeper, who was impressive on the day. 1-0 it ended to leave Shandong three points of the top of the log with a game in hand.
Guangzhou Evergrande returned to winning ways on Friday evening with a 2-0 away victory over Jiangsu Sainty in Nanjing, in a game that marked a return to form for striker Elkeson in front of a terrific 52,000 crowd.
While the Brazilian boasts a respectable return of three goals in six matches in 2014, his finish from the penalty spot in defeat to Changchun Yatai last weekend had been his first goal since the 26 February season-opener against Melbourne Victory.
With a goal and an assist on this occasion, the 2013 Chinese Super League top-scorer put in his best performance of the season to date, while also ensuring Evergrande maintain their impressive record of never having lost two consecutive CSL games since their 2010 takeover.
Beijing Guoan ended a run of three straight wins and forfeited first place in the Super League on Friday evening, after a 70th minute goal from Tobias Hysen secured a well earned 1-0 win for Shanghai East Asia. The game was a close affair throughout, and the visitors will certainly be frustrated not to at least have come away with a point, having seen a number of chances go to waste.
Shanghai began the game with the same lineup that won at Hangzhou Greentown in round 3, while Beijing made one change from their 2-0 victory over Shanghai Shenhua; Dae-Sung Ha replacing Piao Cheng in midfield. The Korean worked well alongside Pablo Batalla, the pair key to much of the visiting side’s attacking play. However, East Asia showed their resilience (and perhaps their Champions League-chasing credentials), as Swedish forward Hysen secured an important 3 points; pouncing on the rebound of a Wu Lei shot, to net his fourth goal of the season.
Guizhou Renhe 0-1 Shanghai Shenxin
Not the prettiest game of the weekend, this one. The game was littered with some rather dirty play, and not many clear cut goalscoring opportunities. The red card that seemed inevitable from early on luckily only game in the final minute of the game, when Rao Weihui was dismissed for a second bookable offense.
The decisive goal came via the boot of yet another Brazilian forward, Jaílton Paraíba, after he picked up the ball in the middle of the park, duked one defender and curled the ball around the diving ‘keeper from 25 yards out. It was a valuable three points away from home for Shanghai, that sees them move off the bottom of the log with their first victory.
Dalian Aerbin 2-1 Changchun Yatai
Changchun started where they left off against Guangzhou last week by dominating the opening moments of the game. It took 2 minutes for them to hit the cross bar and another 2 before they were 1-0 up after, another Brazilian, Eninho powered a penalty passed the Dalian stopper. Although it didn’t last long as Dalian’s goal factory, Bruno, scored in the 9th minute, tucking a header away off a pinpoint cross from midfielder Sun Bo.
Both sides had chances to put this game to bed, bed it was Yatai who were left to regret their missed opportunities as a calamitous error from goalie Song Zhengyu proved the decisive goal. The win puts Aerbin in the top half of the table, within reach of the league leaders.
Shanghai Shenhua 0-0 Henan Jianye
Shenhua’s struggles continued as the drew 0-0 at home to unfancied opponents Henan. We had to wait until the 70th minute for the best chance of the game to materialise. A swift counter attack from Jianye saw Marques one on one with the ‘keeper, only for the Brazilian’s cheeky chip to to float agonisingly wide of the right post.
Shenhua had chances but never really looked like scoring as the goalless draw sees them lingering just two points from the relegation zone, although the season is still in the early phase.
R&F put six goals past Hangzhou to ensure that the match will be remembered as much for Abderazzak Hamdallah’s ten minute hat-trick as the state of the pitch. Undaunted by the swamp like nature of the playing surface Hangzhou started brightly and didn’t deserve to lose by four goals but were undone by two soft penalties and some great strikes from distance.
The day’s big news, however, was that there was a match at all though as Guangzhou had been deluged by rain for the previous 24 hours. The drainage at Yuexiushan did an admirable job but one that in many countries would have been deemed not good enough as there were areas of standing water on the pitch. How 8 goals were scored on the day will remain a mystery.
Tianjin Teda 3-0 Harbin Yiteng
Harbin really should have led early in this game as they didn’t capitalise on two great chances in the opening 30 minutes. A great tackle and a clumsy dive in the box from Brazilian Rodrigo meant that Tianjin came through that period with the score still 0-0. A brace from midfielder DU Zhenyu, one either side of half time, effectively sealed the game for the home side; his second a beautiful placed free kick from a tight angle.
Du grabbed his third goal, completing his hat trick, just before the hour mark after he followed up his own shot that had come off the cross bar, heading it past the diving goalie. The loss leaves Harbin rock bottom of the table with no points from their first four games. It looks like they face an uphill battle to stay in the CSL another season.