Dongbei focus: Super League teams fail to impress, Dalian sides bring home six points
Not one point was won among the North-Eastern Super League teams this week so it fell to their League One counterparts to pick up the pieces as they kicked off their 2016 campaigns. The two Dalian sides secured full points in their opening games as they hit the ground running.
Jiangsu Suning 2-1 Yanbian Fude
Yanbian will once again rue missed chances after being undone by the league’s new powerhouse, Jiangsu Suning, last Friday night.
The game opened with a rather uneventful first thirty minutes and was only punctuated by a couple of chances from Ramires and Sammir with both teams starting the game rather tentatively. That was until Jiangsu took the initiative to grab the opening goal after a lovely move was started and finished by Zhang Xiaobin ten minutes before half-time.
The second half was a different story for Yanbian as they came out pushing for an equalizer. Ten minutes after the break Yanbian had a great chance to pull level when Kim Dae-seung put in a great cross that Ha Tae-goon could only smash into the post. Their biggest chance of the night came after Suning right back Zhou Yun clearly handled the ball in the box and handed Yanbian a penalty. Ha Tae-goon stepped up only to hit it well wide of the target and keep the score at 1-0.
Undeterred, Yanbian kept pushing and were rewarded with a goal when – after a helpful deflection from the referee – Yoon Bit-garam expertly put the ball into the bottom right corner to grab his first goal of the season.
Jaingsu’s quality shone through in the end though as ten minutes later Suning grabbed the winner in stunning fashion. After a clearance from a corner, the ball fell to defender Li Ang who took a touch and whipped the ball into net from around 30 yards out. Yanbian might have grabbed an equalizer a few minutes after that but Ha Tae-goon could only put his effort wide on a night that he’ll want to forget rather quickly.
After two matches we’ve already seen what Yanbian are capable of in this league and will certainly be no pushovers. They deserved more than a point in their last outing against Shenhua and probably warranted sharing the spoils here in Jiangsu. Ha Tae-goon seemed to have a bit of an off day but as his goal last week showed, he still has the quality to upset some top sides if he can start finishing the chances falling to him. The introduction of Steve two minutes from time was too little too late but surely he’ll play a vital role in providing a goal scoring threat in the future.
Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 Changchun Yatai
Changchun collapsed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Evergrande who proved far too much for the Jilin side to handle.
Much like last week’s game in Hangzhou, Yatai once again found themselves 1-0 down within the opening minutes of match. Some awful defending allowed Gao Lin to flick on Huang Bowen’s corner and find its way to the feet of Martinez who easily put it in the back of the net. The calamitous defending continued just a few minutes later as three Yatai defenders allowed Goulart to find enough space to head in Zheng Zhi’s cross and make it 2-0 before the clock even reached fifteen minutes. Changchun offered very little else in the first half and the story continued straight into the second when they found themselves 3-0 down just five minutes after the break. Jackson Martinez picked up the ball on the right side of the box, had enough quality to get past Matić and cross to Gao Lin who found himself in acres of space and finished accordingly.
While it’s still very early days, Changchun’s first two matches have done nothing to dispel fears that this might be the season they find themselves in a real relegation battle. They couldn’t manage one shot on target against Evergrande and their defensive performance left a lot to be desired. Manager Stojanovic was not happy with his side’s errors, saying that his players knew perfectly well the strength of Evergrande’s attack and that they were fully prepared for it but their concentration levels weren’t enough throughout the game.
Shandong Luneng 3-2 Liaoning Whowin
Liaoning felt the absence of key players as they fell to a strong Shandong side in Jinan and failed to continue their winning start.
Liaoning were 1-0 up after 20 minutes when James Chamanga turned in Yang Yu’s flick on from a corner. It only lasted a few minutes though as goalkeeper Shi Xiaotian failed to deal with Wang Yongpo’s clever cross and allowed Tardelli to use his chest to turn it into the net. A few shouts of handball came from the Whowin players but the goal was given. The momentum was with Luneng and they used it to grab another goal just two minutes later, this time Wang Yongpo on the finishing end after he headed in Montillo’s cross from the left. Six minutes after the break Luneng added another when Zhao Mingjian put in a great cross from the right and found the head of Yang Xu who had some help from Whowin defender Michael Thwaite in hitting the target from close range. In the final minutes of the game Toure managed to pull back a consolation goal but it was too little too late as Shandong took all three points.
Not the end of the world for Liaoning as this was always going to be a tough game against a strong Luneng side looking for a win after their 3-0 defeat to Jiangsu last week. The absence of last week’s goal scorer Assani and defender Yang Shanping didn’t help matters as they were both taken ill with a sudden fever before the match kicked off. Their next match is a home game against Henan Jianye.
Dalian Yifang 2-0 Zhejiang Yiteng
Dalian Yifang took on ex-Northeastern rivals Yiteng in their first match since the drama that surrounded their meeting last season. The fallout of that saw Yiteng move from Harbin to the much more favorable temperatures of Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. Changes for the Liaoning side came in the form of a new name and new crop of foreign players, all of whom started on Saturday.
It took until the 56th minute for Yifang to grab the opener when Sun Bo capitalized on Li Xudong’s mistake to put the ball into the back of the net. Their second came through two of their new foreign signings teaming up to score the simplest of goals. Bangura was put through with plenty of space to square it across to Mushekwi who put it in to secure himself a debut goal and make it 2-0.
A decent performance from Yifang, though they were never really tested by a lackluster Yiteng side. The potential is clear to see though and it’s encouraging to see a new signing get off the mark so early. They remain at home to take on Hunan Billows next week.
Shanghai Shenxin 1-3 Dalian Transcendence
League Two runners up Dalian Transcendence travelled to Shanghai to take on recently relegated Shenxin in a battle of two of the league’s new teams. A confident performance from the guests secured them a 3-1 win courtesy of a brace from ex-Wuhan player Zhang Jian and a goal from Dalian native Quan Heng. They return home next week to take on Wuhan Zall.