It’s been another rollercoaster week in the north-east with joy and hope being the overriding themes of the weekend’s action. Yanbian clinched the League One title in style while Dalian and Liaoning kept their respective goals in their sights.
Liaoning put Shenhua to the sword to keep survival hopes alive
Last week this column said Liaoning would need to do something magical against the Shanghai teams in order to escape relegation. Well, mission one complete. Shenhua never really threatened to upset Whowin but credit should still be given where it’s due, Liaoning needed the win and they got it.
Striker Derick Ogbu missed a wonderful chance to put Whowin 1-0 up inside three minutes after somehow failing to convert Yang Chaosheng’s cross. Bicfalvi saw his free-kick rattle the crossbar as Whowin started to look on top of the game. Their breakthrough finally came just after the break as Yang Chaosheng got onto the end of Ogbu’s headed flick-on to send the Liaoning crowd wild. Another fantastic opportunity went begging as Ogbu missed the chance to smash in Ding Haifeng’s assist but in the end it didn’t matter as Whowin kept Shenhua at bay to secure a 1-0 win.
Unfortunately for them, it was all in vain as all the other relegation candidates picked up full points in their respective games. It’s going to be an absolute wild end of the season for the bottom sides, with four teams all desperate to avoid joining Shenxin in League One next year. A tough game against SIPG awaits, with the home side looking to snatch the Super League title from Evergrande’s clutches. It’s going to take something extra magical from Ma Lin’s men this time.
Changchun fall to SIPG
Some dreadful defending last week saw Changchun lose 3-0 against Shenhua and they continued the trend yesterday by falling to championship contenders SIPG 2-0 at home.
A brace from Wu Lei gave the visitors the three points they needed to keep themselves in the race for the title after Evergrande conveniently drew 2-2 against Shandong. He grabbed his first just before the break, converting a shot from Asamoah Gyan that was deflected away by Yatai keeper Wu Yake. His second came on 67 minutes as he headed in a cross from Yu Hai after an almost comedic attempt at a clearance by Ismailov. Asamoah Gyan and Cai Huikang might have doubled the score in the next ten minutes had it not been for the heroics of Wu Yake who ended up needing to be patched up due to his efforts. The sending off of Du Zhenyu for a second bookable offence didn’t help matters, but the damage was already done by then.
They travel to relegation fighters Guizhou next week, who will be looking to hand Yatai their third defeat in three in order to have any hope of surviving the drop.
Yanbian grab title in 4-0 demolition of Hunan Billows
Korean striker Ha Tae-Goon pretty much single-handedly secured himself the golden boot and his team the League One title by firing in a second-half hat-trick in what turned out to be a ninety minute party for the Jilin side.
After securing promotion last week in Wuhan, the pressure was always going to be off for Yanbian as they returned home and took on relegation candidates Hunan Billows. Their victory lap turned out to be a bigger rout than expected though, with Ha Tae-Goon taking advantage of the situation concerning Dănălache in Xinjiang to place himself on the top of the goal-scoring charts with 25 goals.
Unfortunately for Yanbian, the Chinese Football Association had decided to not organize the awarding ceremony before the game so the supporters will have to wait to see the team formally celebrate winning the title. However, the joyous scenes after the game were a sight for the sorest of eyes and fans can now start looking forward to the Super League campaign next year.
Yiteng fans return to see 1-0 victory over Wuhan Zall
After last week’s protests, it was natural for the attention to be drawn away from the pitch and into the stands as Yiteng took on Wuhan in an end of season dead-rubber.
However, those diverted eyes would be disappointed. Protests were minimal, with only defender Yu Tao once again bearing taunts from the crowd after being bizarrely written onto the team-sheet in what could only be construed as some cruel practical joke by a sniggering teammate. His ninety minute retribution was looked on by a 7000 strong crowd, an improvement from last week, although nowhere near the numbers that Harbin could boast about earlier in the season.
A wonderful curling effort and man of the match performance from Ji Xiaoxuan gave the hosts a 1-0 win in the end, with Wuhan coach Zheng Xiong blaming his team’s lackluster performance on an ‘inability to adapt to the cold’. Three injuries forced three substitutions for Yiteng, with the most unfortunate being Ricardo, who went off thirty minutes into his last home game for the club.
Fifth place is secured for Yiteng and a trip to Hunan awaits. Will they fight to finish on a high, or fall to a defeat at the hands of a club who are fighting for their League One lives?
Dalian keep themselves in the race after 1-0 win in Inner Mongolia
A solitary strike from Mathias Renegie gave the visitors a 1-0 victory and was enough to keep Aerbin’s faint promotion hopes alive.
A superb run has left Aerbin unbeaten in twelve (only conceding three goals in the process) but after Hebei’s victory in Guizhou, Aerbin find themselves two points off second place with one game to go. Fingernails will be chewed down to the bone next week as Dalian look to beat Tianjin while simultaneously hoping that CFFC fall to an unlikely defeat against Shenzhen.
Great for the neutrals, but Dalian fans would have hoped they could have completed a fairytale return to the top-flight in a more conventional manner. That 2-0 defeat in Hebei back in May looks extra-costly right now.