The 3rd round of League One action saw three sides drop their 100% record but remain unbeaten, controversy in Shenzhen, a very nasty injury and a set of fans in Hunan failing to follow the fire safety code.
Wuhan Zall 1-1 Dalian Aerbin
Aerbin dropped their first points and conceded their first goal of the season thanks to a spirited second half performance from Wuhan. Dalian were favourites coming into the game and that tag looked entirely justifiable when Mathias Ranegie produced a neat right footed finish from a Bruno Meneghel cross in the seventh minute.
The away team dominated the first half, but Zall looked like a different team after the interval and were rewarded for their improved performance in the 75th minute when Brice Jovial headed in Rafa Jorda’s cross while at full stretch. Jorda should have won the game in injury time when he shot wide when one on one with goalkeeper Zhang Chong and the game ended on an unfortunate note when the big Spaniard unintentionally clashed heads with former Wuhan winger Zhu Ting.
Both players were left bloodied by the clash and Zhu was still unconscious as he was stretchered off the field. Thankfully, the 29-year-old, who remains very popular among the Hubei fans, regained consciousness in the ambulance and is reported to have immediately asked those around him what the final score was.
Hebei CFFC 2-2 Harbin Yiteng
Big spending Hebei drew 2-2 at home for the second consecutive week, although this point against Yiteng is a much greater achievement than the last round’s tie with Yanbian Changbaishan. Nenad Milijas banged in a penalty to put the home side ahead after 18 minutes, but they were pegged back just before half time when Ricardo Steer headed in a corner to put himself atop the League One goal scoring charts with three goals. In the 62nd minute, Li Xiaoting headed in a free kick to give Yiteng a lead which lasted a mere four minutes as Hao Shuang equalised from close range.
A draw with promotion favourites is nothing to be sniffed at but veteran manager Radomir Antic is still looking for his first win after beginning the season with three straight home games. Hebei once again drew well over 10,000 fans, demonstrating that the locals are buying into the pre-season excitement, but that hype is going to have to start translating into results soon if their side are to become realistic promotion contenders.
Hunan Billows 2-0 Tianjin Songjiang
Songjiang coach Drazen Besek failed in his quest to win two straight games at former clubs as Hunan finally grabbed some goals and a win at the third time of asking. After last week’s humiliating 3-0 home defeat against newly promoted Hohhot Zhongyou, Billows manager Aleksander Stankov said he needed to reconfigure his attack, and he did that by starting Li Xiang in place of fellow new signing Chen Zijie.
The decision paid off as Li opened the scoring in the 14th minute, before Liu Xinyu doubled the lead just over ten minutes later. That early onslaught proved to be enough to claim the three points in a game that’s kickoff had been delayed by a few minutes thanks to the over-exuberant use of fireworks by the home fans.
Beijing BG 2-0 Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard
Beijing BG got the better of Xinjiang in what was reportedly a very entertaining game at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium. It took just four minutes for Danko Lazovic to score his first goal for the capital city club and the Serbian doubled his season tally fifteen minutes from the end to seal a home victory. The win gets BG back on track after a disappointing loss in Dalian last week, while Xinjiang fans can take heart from a very positive performance away to one of this season’s promotion favourites.
Shenzhen FC 1-1 Beijing Institute of Technology
BIT’s surprisingly strong start to the season continued as Andres Marquez converted a controversial 85th minute penalty to steal a point in Shenzhen. The southern side had taken the lead five minutes after the interval through Fei Yu, but they were denied a first win of the season thanks to Marquez’s second goal of the campaign.
BIT keep pace with Harbin and Dalian with seven points from three games, but the over 10,000 Shenzhen fans who turned out will be pondering where their season goes from here. This is the third time they have seen their side fail to beat a team which finished below them in 2014 and doesn’t bode well for the upcoming year.
Jiangxi Liansheng 1-2 Qingdao Hainiu
Dorde Rakic’s 63rd minute winner snapped Hainiu’s fifteen game winless streak in the league and meant that Liansheng remain League One’s only side not to pick up a point in 2015. Shi Zhe put the visitors in the lead after 21 minutes when he netted an open goal and things went from bad to worse for Jiangxi five minutes later when Adi Rocha, who scored a David Beckham-esque (or should that be Charlie Adam-esque) goal last week, went off injured.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and after the home side were given a penalty for a handball inside the area, Adi’s replacement Zhang Jianwen stepped up to level the scores from the spot seven minutes after the break. Unfortunately for the Nanchang faithful, the parity lasted barely ten minutes as Rakic scored his maiden goal for the Shandong side to give them their first league win since August 2nd last year.
Qingdao Jonoon 0-0 Hohhot Zhongyou
After last weekend’s derby victory over Qingdao Hainiu, Jonoon were held by a strong looking Hohhot side. The hosts will feel disappointed not to have claimed maximum points against their newly promoted opponents. However, Hohhot can feel proud of the fact that they have already picked up four points from three away games against sides which finished third, fifth and sixth in last seasons League One, while only conceding one goal in the process.
Guizhou Zhicheng 0-1 Yanbian Changbaishan
A goal from Jailton Paraiba was enough to give Yanbian victory in the battle of the two replacement sides called into League One late thanks to the dissolution of Shaanxi Wuzhou and Shenyang Zhongze. It was the Brazilian’s first goal for the club since arriving from Shanghai Shenxin in the winter and it moves Yanbian level with the leading group of Harbin Yiteng, Dalian Aerbin and Beijing Institute of Technology on seven points.
Although two of their opening three games have come against sides who were in last season’s League Two, that’s still an impressive record from a team that has kicked off the season with a trio of away games after having just over a month to prepare.