Changchun Yatai turned around their below-average start to the second half of the CSL season with a well earned 2-1 victory over league leaders/defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande on sunday night.
CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 18
Changchun Yatai 2
Guangzhou Evergrande 1
Changchun went into the match on the back of back to back draws against Beijing Guoan (2-2) and Henan Jianye (0-0) and a loss to Hangzhou Greentown (2-3), but it was the North-East side that looked hungrier throughout the game.
Loan signings Zhao Peng and Feng Renliang, both on-loan from Guangzhou, did not feature in the match due to a stipulation in their contracts meaning they are unable to play against their parent club.
Their absence didn’t seem to matter much as Changchun got off to the best start possible when Brazilian forward Eninho scored a free kick from just outside the Guangzhou penalty box.
China International goalkeeper Zeng Cheng was unable to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net despite getting a hand to it.
The 20’000+ crowd in attendance were loud throughout the match but became slightly subdued when Guangzhou equalised around the 32 minute mark, a diving header from Alberto Gilardino connecting on an easy cross into the box.
Goalkeeper Mi Tianhe was tested multiple times by Guangzhou, mainly by star player Elkeson, but his calm nerves and safe hands kept Changchun in the game as they managed to equal both shots attempted (8) and shots on-target (2) as Guangzhou.
Recent import signing Szabolcs Huszti was the clear man-of-the-match in this game, starting on the left wing and causing multiple problems for the Guangzhou defence.
Huszti swapped positions with Li Xiaoting on the right-wing and continued to cause havoc for Guangzhou, which would lead to him scoring the decisive goal in the 85th minute.
But it was not to be as Changchun held on tightly and the referee blew the final whistle to what can only be described as a special night in the North-East of China.
Guangzhou return to the south still at the top of the league, but with Beijing having a game in hand they will look to bounce back quickly and look to maintain the gap between them.
For Changchun, they move up slightly in the table and are now sitting a few points further away from the relegation zone, a place that every Changchun fan feels the team has earned with their strong performance against the league leaders.
Next up for Changchun is Dalian Aerbin, who will be hoping to leap-frog Changchun with a victory away from home. After Changchun’s win against Guangzhou spirits will be high and they will be hoping to claim as many points as possible from the coastal side.
Mi Tianhe, Lü Jianjun, Wang Wanpeng, Anzur Ismailov, Zhang Xiaofei, Li Xiaoting, Walter Iglesias, Sun Jie, Eninho (Fatos Beciraj 69’), Szabolcs Huszti (Pei Shuai 90+3’), Yang Xu (Cao Tianbao 69’)