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The North-East View: Familiar feeling as Changchun lose league opener

Changchun Yatai left fans with a familiar disappointing feeling after suffering a 2-1 loss to Hangzhou Greentown in their first league match of 2016.

Yatai got off to a bad start when Greentown’s Chinese Taipei international midfielder Chen Po-Liang scored after just four minutes of play.

It took Greentown just 18 more minutes to extend their lead to 2-0 thanks to a Tim Cahill goal, effectively sealing the North-East club’s fate.

Yatai earned themselves a consolation goal thanks to star striker, Bolivian international Marcelo Moreno, but it was too little too late as usual for the visitors.

All of Yatai’s newest signings played a part in their opening match, with four of them in the starting eleven.

Hong Kong international Jack Sealy lined up at right-back, Spanish-born Taiwanese international Yaki Yen started in the central-defence position alongside Anzur Ismailov.

Former Beijing Guo’an midfielder Darko Matic started at the heart of midfield alongside He Chao whilst former Hangzhou player Fan Xiaodong took the left winger position.

Frenchman Julien Gorius and Serbian Under-21s striker Ognjen Ožegović also featured from the substitutes bench.

Changchun earned a 1-0 victory over Greentown in their previous encounter towards the end of last season and face an even more difficult fixture this week, in the form of Guangzhou Evergrande.

Changchun fans have been frustrated by their team’s inconsistent performances in recent years, with managers changing on almost a 6-month basis contributing heavily to the team’s lack of stability.

Yatai are starting the season with their third manager since this time last year, it is still to be seen whether or not the opening fixture is a sign of things to come or simply a blip on what could still be a successful campaign.

A number of new players finding themselves in the team’s starting line-up on day one, so some transition time is to be expected and it won’t be until June before fans will have a clear idea of how their team compares to the rest of the league.

With Changchun having one of the smallest budgets in the league, fans will be hoping the team can avoid relegation and put up results like they experienced last season.

Th season has only just begun but there is much anticipation surrounding the team from the north-east.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and correspondent for Wild East Football. James is an avid fan of Changchun Yatai, having been a season-ticket holder in 2015, and has been involved with Wild East Football for a number of years.

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