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China League One

League One Round 10 Wrap: Jonoon Continue Winning Run and Dalian Dominant

The League One season is now one third of the way through and round 10 saw Dalian Aerbin and Qingdao Jonoon strengthen their grip on the promotion places. Harbin Yiteng and Yanbian Changbaishan both remain unbeaten by drawing too much, Hunan lose again and Beijing BG and Hebei CFFC return to winning ways.

Qingdao Jonoon 2-0 Jiangxi Liansheng

Jonoon continued their excellent recent form with a comfortable victory over Liansheng. Second half goals from Ismael Beko Fofana and Zhu Jianrong were enough to give the Shandong side a fifth straight win and extend their unbeaten run to nine.

One Each: Goal scorers Ismael Beko Fofana and Zhu Jianrong embrace

One Each: Goal scorers Ismael Beko Fofana and Zhu Jianrong embrace

Fofana put Jonoon in front two minutes after the interval and the lead was doubled five minutes later when Zhu lobbed Jiangxi keeper Tang Jun. It was the 23-year-old’s third goal in four games since he came into the line-up in place of the injured Deivdy Reiss and, with the Brazilian showing he is back to fitness thanks to a second half substitute appearance, Jonoon manager Tomaz Kavcic now has a bit of a conundrum on his hands when choosing his next line-up.

But whoever plays in attack, Jonoon look likely to continue this fantastic run if their defence can maintain its recent stinginess. Since shipping four goals to Harbin in the opening week of the season, Kavcic’s men have conceded three in nine games. You don’t have to be much of a mathematician to calculate that that’s one goal every three games and, if they can keep up anything like that record for the remainder of the season, a return to the Super League after a two year absence looks highly likely.

Dalian Aerbin 4-1 Beijing Institute of Technology

Aerbin consolidated their status as league leaders with a convincing victory over an increasingly leaky BIT. It took just three minutes for Mathias Ranegie to find the net when he followed up a Bruno Meneghel free kick that had struck the bar. A minute before half time, Sun Guowen was the beneficiary of another Meneghel effort when he capitalised on the Brazilian’s saved shot to put his side two goals up.

Mathias Ranegie celebrates one of his goals with Jin Qiang

Mathias Ranegie celebrates one of his goals with Jin Qiang

Ranegie grabbed a third two minutes after the break before BIT captain Han Guanghui pulled one back with a long range strike in the 55th minute. Two minutes before full time, with the result already a formality, Ranegie found himself through on goal but selflessly spurned the chance of a hat-trick by squaring the ball to Meneghel. The Brazilian was being rewarded for his earlier efforts and bagged a joint league leading eighth of the season.

The result is not much of a surprise, but BIT ought to be increasingly concerned at the alarming rate at which they are giving up goals. Only bottom side Yanbian Changbaishan conceded more than BIT in 2014 and, after a pair of clean sheets in their opening two games, the university side have now let in more than anyone else in 2015.

They’ve shipped twenty in total and, more worryingly, nineteen in their last seven. The capital side have also won just one in eight and, should they maintain this form, look likely to be sucked into a relegation struggle.

Hohhot Zhongyou 0-0 Harbin Yiteng

Harbin picked up a sixth consecutive away draw to maintain their unbeaten run in 2015. Much of the focus was on Hohhot’s Dori who was taking on his former club, but it was Wang Yunlong who once again grabbed the attention with a solid performance. In the 81st minute, Wang thought he had netted his sixth of the season but the goal was ruled out and Hohhot had to settle for a point.

While Harbin’s unbeaten run looks impressive, they have now won just two of their last eight and will need to start picking up more victories in order to keep pace with Dalian Aerbin and Qingdao Jonoon. All those dropped points are starting to take their toll in the table, but Yiteng will be hoping to take advantage of a run of summertime home fixtures in order to catch up with their rivals.

Tianjin Songjiang 1-1 Yanbian Changbaishan

Yanbian players remonstrated over Steve's red card for several minutes

Yanbian players remonstrated over Steve’s red card for several minutes

Both sides ended with one goal and ten men as Goran Tomic earned a point in his first home game in charge of Songjiang. The match’s major talking point came in the 55th minute when Yanbian’s young Gambian forward Steve was shown a straight red card. This prompted a four minute melee as the visitors vigorously protested the decision.

When play finally resumed, Songjiang centre back Juan Andres Bolano took advantage of Yanbian’s loss of focus by heading in the subsequent free kick. However, Tomic’s men couldn’t make the extra man pay and Cui Min headed in a 74th minute corner to level the score. Songjiang’s Xia Ningning was also dismissed in stoppage time for a second yellow, but it had little bearing on the final outcome.

Cui’s equaliser means that Songjiang remain bottom on goal difference, while Yanbian have taken ten games to match the number of points they earned in the entirety of 2014. However, five 1-1 draws in their last seven games suggests that, like Harbin, they will need to start adding to their win column if they are to make a serious challenge for promotion.

Hunan Billows 1-2 Hebei CFFC

Hebei got the best of a ten minute second half goal spree to arrest a run of two straight defeats and stay in touch with the top two. A free kick from Hebei’s Nenad Milijas brought a 65 minute wait for a goal to an end, but it took just two minutes for Chen Zijie to level the scores. The parity lasted just seven minutes, however, as Ibba Laajab’s strike gave the home side all three points.

Laajab’s winner means that it is now only goal difference keeping Hunan off the bottom of the table. The Changsha side have gone seven games without a win and that solitary victory came against bottom side Tianjin Songjiang.

Since that meeting in the third round of the season, both sides have parted ways with their manage but, while Songjiang have recruited 2014 manager of the year Goran Tomic to guide them to safety, Billows are still being led by caretaker Zhang Xu. There is currently not much evidence to suggest that the General Manager can turn Hunan’s season around in his first head coaching role.

Wuhan Zall 1-0 Guizhou Zhicheng

On A High: Liu Shangkun celebrates his late winner with a spot of levitation

On A High: Liu Shangkun celebrates his late winner with a spot of levitation

An 85th minute minute header from Liu Shangkun was enough to give Wuhan victory in what was a largely turgid affair. Despite Rodrigo going off injured in the first half and top scorer Yves Ekwalla Herman seemingly suffering the effects of a heavy knock received early in the game, Zhicheng edged a pretty woeful first 75 minutes. This was mostly thanks to the lively attacker Ilhamjan Iminjan, but it was Zhicheng goalkeeper Su Boyang who would have taken the plaudits had his side held on for a point.

Su made a series of excellent saves as Wuhan sprang into life in the final 15 minutes, but he was unable to do anything when Yao Hanlin picked out Liu at the end of a rapid counter attack. The right back’s goal secured back to back Wuhan wins for the first time this season and brings an end to Zhicheng’s three match unbeaten run.

Qingdao Hainiu 1-0 Xinjiang

Hainiu ended a five game winless with a third consecutive 1-0 win over Xinjiang. Jiang Tao set up Kim Seung-yong three minutes before half time and the former AFC Champions’ League winner made no mistake to give Hainiu the three points.

Any Means Necessary: Hainiu players distract Cristian Danalache (10) from scoring by playing peek-a-boo and grabbing their crotches

Any Means Necessary: Hainiu players distract Cristian Danalache (10) from scoring by playing peek-a-boo and grabbing their crotches

This game was originally scheduled to be played in Urumqi but because Xinjiang were already in town last weekend to take on Jonoon the teams agreed to switch fixtures in order to cut down on the visitors’ travel. Xinjiang were the only team Hainiu did the double over last season and the result also punctuates an unhappy return to the Shandong Peninsula for Cristian Danalache.

The Romanian had scored in six straight games before taking on his former side Jonoon last weekend, but has now drawn a pair of blanks. It is no coincidence that Xinjiang have also failed to get on the score sheet in those two matches and this demonstrates the 2012 Super League top scorer’s importance to the club.

Beijing BG 2-0 Shenzhen FC

Two second half free kicks were enough for BG to overcome Shenzhen and put last week’s surprising loss to Guizhou Zhicheng behind them. Wang Cun converted his dead ball opportunity in the 49th minute and Danko Lazovic followed suit eight minutes later.

BG’s victory sees them rise to seventh in the table and remain within six points of the top two. A second straight defeat for Shenzhen means the southern side slip back down to eleventh.

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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