Round 17 was a big one for both Yanbian Changbaishan and Qingdao Jonoon as they won to extend their leads over promotion rivals. Yanbian emphatically defeated Hebei CFFC while Jonoon edged city rivals Hainiu in a tight contest. Wins for Beijing BG and Harbin Yiteng keep them in the hunt as Dalian Aerbin’s losing run continues. The bottom three all lost on their travels and a big win for Tianjin Songjiang pulls them closer to safety.
Yanbian Changbaishan 3-0 Hebei CFFC
A second half demolition job allowed Yanbian to pull nine points ahead of their opponents and killed any lingering doubts that they are not for real. After a close first half, Steve opened the scoring two minutes after the break and then added a second with ten minutes left to play.
The win was sealed in the dying moments when Hebei goalkeeper Yang Cheng nonchalantly fielded a back pass and played it straight against the onrushing Jin Bo, The ball ricocheted in off of the second half substitute to send the home fans into raptures.
There had also been good news for Yanbian a couple of days earlier when it was confirmed that fourteen-goal striker Ha Tae-goon had signed on a permanent deal. The Korean’s loan period was set to expire next week but Yanbian paid $400,000 to Suwon Bluewings to acquire his services on a long term basis and his new contract runs until the end of 2016.
Ha didn’t find the net in his first game as a permanent squad member but he once again linked up very well with fellow foreigners Steve and Jailton Paraiba. Obviously, Steve’s goals grabbed the headlines but the performance of Jailton was outstanding and raises questions as to why Super League strugglers Shanghai Shenxin let him go at the end of last season.
With Steve on the left, Jailton on the right and Ha playing through the middle, Yanbian have the kind of potent attack Hebei were lacking despite new signing Edu making his debut. The Brazilian did hit the post in the first half, but he put on an otherwise languid display which fell far short of the hype surrounding his arrival.
Be it lack of match fitness or an unfamiliarity with new teammates, Hebei will need Edu to get up to speed pretty soon if they are to overturn the four point gap which has opened up between them and second placed Qingdao Jonoon.
Qingdao Jonoon 1-0 Qingdao Hainiu
An 80th minute winner from Lei Quan gave Jonoon a derby victory which sees them pull four points clear in second. With Serbian attacker Dorde Rakic reportedly still too traumatised to take the field after witnessing the death of his friend Goran Gogic last week, and Kim Seung-yong also absent, Hainiu started with an all-Chinese team.
That changed late in the second half when new loan signing Julio Gutierrez was introduced into the fray. The tough tackling Uruguayan has been drafted in from Beijing Institute of Technology until the end of the season in order to replace Gogic.
Veteran striker Qu Bo also came off the bench for Hainiu to take on the club where he made his name last decade. However, he was unable to make much of an impact and Lei’s strike places Jonoon in prime position for a return to the Super League.
Beijing BG 1-0 Dalian Aerbin
Carmelo Valencia’s 40th minute strike was enough to give BG the win and propel them above Aerbin into third in the table. The result means the visitors have now lost four in a row and, with Wanda announcing it was investing big money in the club last week, one wonders how long manager Mikael Stahre will be given to turn things around.
Harbin Yiteng 2-1 Jiangxi Liansheng
A 90th minute winner from Adam Hughes condemned Jiangxi to yet another narrow defeat in Sun Wei’s first game as manager. Xian Tao, who was returning to his former club, gave Jiangxi the lead in the 36th minute with a long range free kick that flew in off the post. But Ricardo Steer levelled things up just two minutes later when he out-jumped Ma Chongchong to head in.
Things remained all square until Hughes’s late strike gave Harbin the three points which sees them climb above Dalian Aerbin into fifth. The defeat is Jiangxi’s third one goal loss in a row and means they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
Xinjiang 3-1 Shenzhen FC
Shenzhen’s dismal form continued in Xinjiang where they extended their winless run to nine. A 12th minute header from veteran centre back Vicente gave the hosts the lead and that was extended four minutes after the break when Cristian Danalache pounced on a Xiao Xingtong effort that had hit the post.
Babacar Gueye gave the visitors hope when he pulled one back in the 58th minute, but that was quickly extinguished when Danalache grabbed his thirteenth league goal of the season two minutes later. The Romanian once again demonstrated his poachers instinct by following up on a Vicente header that had struck the bar.
The win preserves Xinjiang’s unbeaten home record and takes them into the top ten. Shenzhen remain in the relegation zone and look to be in real trouble moving forward.
Tianjin Songjiang 3-1 Wuhan Zall
Songjiang did their survival hopes no harm with a win that has all but eliminated Wuhan from the promotion race. On the stroke of half-time Franck Nouble scored his third in three games since arriving in Tianjin and Mario Lucio doubled the lead four minutes after the break.
Brice Jovial was able to pull a goal back for the visitors when he struck his tenth of the season, but substitute Su Yuanjie secured Songjiang’s victory with a late strike.
All the recent headlines related to Songjiang have been about Quanjian Natural Medicine’s purchase of the club, but the job that Goran Tomic has done since he took over ten games ago should not be overlooked. He has lost just once in that time and has dragged the team off the bottom to be four points clear of the relegation zone.
For his opposite number Zheng Bin, time is surely running out as the club’s promotion push has been ended by a run of six without a win. Zheng had been under pressure earlier in the season, but three consecutive wins, including a 6-0 demolition of the hapless Shenzhen brought him some time.
Now, a team that was one minute away from the Super League last season is closer to the relegation zone than the promotion places. Zheng tried to turn things around in this match by dropping Spanish striker Rafa Jorda and switching to five in midfield. That obviously didn’t work and it remains to be seen how Wuhan will proceed with salvaging something from a failed season.
Hohhot Zhongyou 2-1 Hunan Billows
Hohhot secured back to back victories for the first time this season to move up to seventh in the table. In the 34th minute, midfielder Li Shuai scored his first goal for Zhongyou having arrived on loan from Guizhou Renhe via another loan spell at League Two side Yinchuan Helanshan.
Jose Luiz Cabezas scored his second in as many weeks to level things up on the stroke of half-time, but Yin Lu netted in the 63rd minute to make sure all three points stayed in Inner Mongolia. The loss means that Hunan are four without a win following a brief streak which pulled them out of the relegation zone. At the moment, the only thing that’s stopping them from sliding back down there is the ineptness of Shenzhen FC and Jiangxi Liansheng below them.
Guizhou Zhicheng vs Beijing Institute of Technology – Postponed until September 8th
As noted in our preview, this game has been delayed due to thirteen of BIT’s first team squad competing for China in the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. Having lost all their group games, China defeated Chinese Taipei in a 9-16th placeranking match and followed that up with 3-1 victory over the Ukraine.
BIT’s Hu Ming got on the score sheet in that one and their final match was played against Russia to determine which side was ranked ninth. China had already succumbed to Russia in the group stages and lost 3-0 on this occasion to achieve a final ranking of tenth out of sixteen teams.
Off the field, BIT have lost the services of defensive midfielder Julio Gutierrez who they have loaned to Qingdao Hainiu. The only transfer news coming from Zhicheng is that they have signed free agent winger Wang Fan who last played for Chongqing Lifan. The club also confirmed that all three of their foreign players would remain until the end of the season after it had earlier been reported that Rodrigo was dissatisfied and seeking a return to Harbin Yiteng.