If you thought this week was going to give you some clarity, with one team maybe pulling away, then you thought wrong. The top of the table is still as tight as ever with only two points separating the top four teams. Wild East Football was on hand for every game this weekend, let’s see what went down and who got on the scoresheet in week 6.
Guangzhou Evergrande stayed atop the log and strengthened their goal differential with a 5-2 drubbing of Tianjin in their own backyard. The win is a further show of strength from the reigning champions, although the victory wasn’t secured until the an hour into the game. In a wide open game, featuring some sub-par goalkeeping, there were chances aplenty for both sides with Guangzhou being more clinical.
The teams went into the break with Evergrande leading 2-1 and it took only 5 minutes after the restart for Tianjin to level matters at 2-2. Three quick goals by the visitors saw off the game which was all but over on 66 minutes when Gaolin grabbed his second of the game and made it 5-2. Talisman Elkeson had another great game and got on the score sheet after converting a penalty that he had won himself. Although his best moment came just after half time when he struck a 30 yard free kick as sweet as can be which skipped off the cross bar with the ‘keeper soundly beaten.
Guizhou Renhe 1-2 Beijing Guoan
The main talking point of this game won’t be the fact that Beijing scrapped their way to a valuable away win to keep tied with Guangzhou atop the log with 15 points, but rather the way the the Guizhou team, specifically the coaching staff, embarrassed themselves.
The controversy began minutes before half time when Guizhou’s rock at the back, Jonas Salley, had to go off the field to change his shirt after Guoan’s lone striker Jofre Guerrón ripped it during a tussle. The exchange sparked a verbal altercation between the two benches. When play restarted the fourth official was holding Salley back from returning to the field so when Beijing launched an attack on the Guizhou goal one of the home team’s assistant coaches kicked a second ball onto the pitch in protest. He was subsequently sent to the stands but the damage had been done to the reputation of the Renhe organisation.
On the football side of things, the game was a tight affair with the teams exchanging goals after the break before Argentinian playmaker, Pablo Batalla sealed the three points for the capital’s team with a sweet volley from the edge of the area with 10 minutes to play.
Shanghai East Asia returned to winning ways against Changchun Yatai at Shanghai Stadium on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a 6th minute strike from Wang Jiayu. The game was far from a straightforward affair for the home side, however, and Changchun will be left cursing their luck, having failed to convert a succession of promising second-half opportunities into goals. This was in no small part down to the outstanding Yan Junling between the sticks for Shanghai. The young ‘keeper’s performances have been just one of a number of reasons why East Asia fans have been celebrating this year, although Saturday’s accomplished display was certainly his finest of the current campaign.
While the recent goal drought continued for the 7-goal pairing of Wu Lei and Tobias Hysen, the pair again put in industrious and energetic shifts, and combined to start the move that led to Wang Jiayu’s early goal. Hysen’s neat flick on after a high ball from Fu Huan found Wu 40 yards from goal and facing two Changchun defenders. Skipping inside the covering Zhang Xiaofei, Wu’s incisive through ball evaded 5 opponents to find Wang arriving in the penalty area. The midfielder only needed one touch before calmly slotting past the diving Song Zhenyu.
Shandong Luneng 2-0 Hangzhou Greentown
After spurning the chance to go top of the table on Wednesday night, Shandong bounced back with a solid win against a spirited Hangzhou team. Greentown were unable to replicate last week’s heroics and went down 2-0 on the road. There best chance came in the 10th minute when Roman was denied by a sharp save after really good build up play from Ivorian Agnan.
But in the end it was Shandong who take some much needed momentum into next week’s game away to fellow high flyers Guoan. They will be buoyed by the form of the forward pairing of Aloisío and Vagner Love who played magnificently and each grabbed a goal to help their team to the three points.
Shanghai Shenxin 1-0 Harbin Yiteng
Shenxin pulled themselves out of the relegation zone for the first time this season as they beat winless side Harbin 1-0 at home. The game wasn’t a classic by any means but a few glimpses of action made it exciting enough.
The game was turned on its head in the 15th minute when defender Shao Shuai valiantly (or stupidly) handled the ball in the area while saving a sure goal. He was rightly dismissed with a straight red from the ref and the subsequent penalty was cooly stroked into the top left corner by composed Wang Yun. Harbing seem completely overwhelmed in the top division as the have no started the 2014 campaign with six loses from six games.
Abderazzak Hamdallah and Davi both scored one from the spot and one from open play as their Guangzhou R&F side dispatched Henan Jianye without needing to reach top gear. Two first half penalties, the second dubious, knocked the stuffing out of Henan and the blue and whites relaxed the tempo in the second period.
Sven made three changes from the team that lost to Beijing last week as Davi, Zhu Baojie and fit again Jiang Ning came in for Li Yan, Chang Feiya and the suspended Park Jong-Woo. Henan brought last week’s goal scorer Ryan Johnson into the starting line-up in place of Nando Rafael.
Jiangsu Sainty 1-1 Liaoning Whowin
Liaoning will be happy to come away from the fixture with a point in the bag; each point helps when you’re fighting to stay out of the bottom two. Jiangsu completely ruled this game with their front three of Dejan, Elias and Deng Zhouxiang creating, and then squandering, the bulk of the game’s chances. On a different day this game could have ended 4-1.
Yet it was Liaoning who scored first and put the pressure on the hosts. The goal from Aleksander Jevtic in the 22nd minute was totally against the run of play. Sainty needed all of 81 minutes of football to get on the scoreboard, as Elias finally made one of their attacking surges count.
The crowd at the Hongkou Football Ground were treated to a wonderful display on Sunday by Shanghai’s inspirational captain, Giovanni Moreno. The lanky Colombian put his sweet left foot to good use in a display that will be remembered for a while. He grabbed a goal in each half to see his side comfortably get the three points but it could have been more as he came close with three second half free kicks. He also won the affections of his team mates as he stood up for fellow Colombian Luis Carlos Ruiz, after a terrible challenge from Aerbin’s Li Xuepeng left the number 9 in a crumpled heap in the middle of the pitch.
Shanghai will need more performances like that, and more support from the rest of the team, if they wish to mount a challenge for the title this season. Next week’s clash against Evergrande will be a big indication of where this team’s progression is at. Aerbin still linger dangerously close to the relegation zone, only finding themselves on the outside looking in on goal difference.