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League One Round 1 Wrap: Harbin, Dalian and Beijing BG Set Early Pace as Hebei Falter

Qingdao Jonoon 1-4 Harbin Yiteng

Harbin kicked off their League One campaign with a statement of intent by demolishing Jonoon in the opening round’s marquee clash. This was a contest between two sides that have been in the Super League within the last two years and things started well for the home side when Zhu Jianrong netted their opener on 27 minutes.

Ricardo Steer levelled five minutes later when he headed in a Bu Xin cross before Jonoon debutant Zhao Peng put the ball into his own net in the 44th minute. Zhao played a terrible back pass just one minute later which led to Harbin’s Jair Reinoso grabbing his first goal for the club and Jonoon’s winter signing from Guangzhou Evergrande was unsurprisingly substituted at half time. However, this made little difference to the home side’s prospects as Li Peng received a red card for deliberately handling in the penalty area five minutes after the break and Bu Xin stepped up to convert the penalty and seal his opponent’s fate.

On Top: Dalian Aerbin top the early table

On Top: Dalian Aerbin lead the early table

Dalian Aerbin 4-0 Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard

Not to be out done by their fellow 2014 Super League relegatees, Dalian comfortably dispatched Xinjiang to go top of the very early table. Swedish debutant Mathias Ranegie opened the scoring after just nine minutes before a Yan Zhiyu own goal doubled the deficit close to the half hour mark. Aerbin’s 2014 top scorer Bruno Meneghel added a third on 39 minutes and substitute Sun Guowen finished the rout five minutes before the end.

Beijing BG 2-0 Tianjin Songjiang

Beijing BG put other League One sides on notice with a 2-0 victory in the second tier’s Jing-Jin derby. It took debuting centre back Eder Lima just 40 seconds to net the opener from a corner and fellow new boy Yan Xiangchuang doubled the margin in first half injury time.

It was a disappointing loss for Songjiang’s new manager Drazen Besek but looks to be the dawn of a new era for BG who managed to attract over 8,000 fans to their new home at the Chaoyang Sports Centre. When compared to last year’s average turnout of around 1,600 it is clear that interest in Beijing’s second team is at an all time high.

Early Struggles: Hebei's Abdurahim Laajab (9) tussles with BIT's Abel Nazario

Early Struggles: Hebei’s Abdurahim Laajab (9) tussles with BIT’s Abel Nazario

Hebei CFFC 0-1 Beijing Institute of Technology

This was the biggest shock of the opening weekend as big spending Hebei CFFC disappointed over 12,000 fans with an opening day defeat. With Radomir Antic at the helm and several high profile signings, big things are expected of Hebei this year.

However, a solitary goal from Hu Ming on 68 minutes was enough to ruin the season opener for a team many are tipping for promotion. Thirteen minutes after scoring, Hu was sent off for a second booking but BIT were able to hold on under pressure to claim an impressive victory against their local rivals.

Wuhan Zall 1-0 Hohhot Zhongyou

In front of over 12,000 fans, one of this season’s promotion favourites got their 2015 off to a flying start when Yao Hanlin banged in a long distance strike after just five minutes. The remainder of the game was nervy and, buoyed on by impressive travelling support, Zall’s newly promoted opponents performed well in the second half without being able to find an equaliser.

Wet and Wild: Jiangxi's clash with Yanbian was marred by torrential rain

Wet and Wild: Jiangxi’s clash with Yanbian was marred by torrential rain

Jiangxi Liansheng 0-1 Yanbian Changbaishan

The return of professional football to Nanchang after a three year absence was somewhat of a damp squib as Liansheng fell to Yanbian in torrential rain. A debut second half goal from Gambian loan signing Steve was enough to separate the sides, although both Adi Rocha and Ma Chongchong went on to hit the woodwork in their first outings for the home club. Jiangxi will be disappointed to lose, but the win is quite an achievement for Yanbian who had expected to be kicking off the season in League Two less than two months ago.

Hunan Billows 0-0 Qingdao Hainiu

Two dark horses for promotion played out a goalless draw in the rain of Changsha and Hunan will be disappointed that their new, potentially potent attacking line-up failed to find the net. Hainiu, meanwhile, ought to be pleased with an away point but should also be concerned that their run of consecutive winless games in League One now stretches to fourteen dating back to last season.

Shenzhen FC 1-1 Guizhou Zhicheng

Having only found out they would be playing in League One just over two weeks ago, Zhicheng will be delighted to leave Guangdong with a point. Unsurprisingly, it was the prolific Babacar Gueye who gave Shenzhen a first half lead but, after Jiang Liang was tripped in the area, Lian Chen converted a second half penalty to give Zhicheng an unexpected share of the spoils.

Things to look for in round 2…

The clash between Dalian Aerbin and Beijing BG immediately stands out as it sees two promotion favourites facing off and will give an early indication of how far BG have really come.

There is also a Qingdao derby to look forward to as Hainiu host Jonoon. There’s not a lot history in the fixture, but it’s significant as the upstart hosts are seeking to become the seaside city’s number one team in 2015.

On the face of things, Wuhan Zall vs Tianjin Songjiang has little to offer, but it sees Drazen Besek return to face the team who controversially sacked him last season.

Based in China for five years, Jamie has been exploring tiny little third tier Hubei cities without football teams or decent internet connections, but is now a regular at China League One side Wuhan Zall.

A keen football afficionado, he regularly takes in the Chinese Super League, enjoying matches in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Nanjing.

Jamie is also a keen observer of the fortunes of the Chinese National side.

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