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League One Team of the Week – Round 7: Huanghai Dominant After Huge Shenzhen Win

After a two week hiatus due to other commitments, League One’s Team of the Week returns and is dominated by Qingdao Huanghai players after their outstanding win away to Shenzhen FC. Aside from Huanghai’s four representatives, the rest of the side is made up of an even spread with plenty of goalscorers. As an added bonus, we’ve included the teams for rounds 5 and 6, too. All players play in, or very close to, their correct position and the team follows League One rules meaning only three foreigners and an under-23 player in the XI.

Goalkeeper – Guan Zhen – Shenzhen FC

Guan arrived in Shenzhen from Shijiazhuang Ever Bright over the winter as one of the club’s big money signings, but hasn’t have much opportunity to showcase himself because his side have generally dominated games. That wasn’t the case this week, though, as Qingdao Huanghai ran roughshod over their hosts in the second half. Guan preserved his side’s 1-0 lead with a one handed save from Bari Mamatil early in the first half and made a spectacular double save late in the game to keep things respectable after the score had already flipped to 2-1. Guan will no doubt be hoping that next time he gets to show what he can do it will be in a winning effort.

Right-back – Xu Yougang(U23) – Qingdao Huanghai

A combination of Jiang Tao’s transfer to Beijing Guo’an and the introduction of the U23 rule has meant that Xu has made the right-back position his own this year and, with more performances like this, Shanghai Shenhua may start wondering why they sent the 21-year-old out on loan for a second consecutive season. As well as offering plenty of useful support in attack, Xu’s defensive work was outstanding this week as he managed to accomplish the unenviable task of shackling Aboubakar Oumarou and also nicked the ball off of Harold Preciado’s foot just as the deadly Colombian hitman shaped up for a penalty area shot.

Centre Back – Yang Yun – Qingdao Huanghai

Yang was signed from Chongqing Lifan in the winter to replace the departing Wan Houliang and had shown serious signs of struggle prior to this week. He was subbed off in the first half of their round 4 match against Dalian Yifang as the defence fell apart and didn’t fair too much better in a 3-0 defeat to Wuhan the following week – although he did at least last 90 minutes. It was an entirely different story this week, though, as Yang was immense against Shenzhen’s potent attack. Impeccable positioning meant danger was usually snuffed out early and, when it wasn’t, Yang was on hand to save the day as he did in the first half with a perfectly timed penalty area slide on Oumarou.

Centre Back – Wang Guangyi – Hangzhou Greentown

A second inclusion in our team of the week for the converted midfielder who continues to fill in admirably for injured Australian Matthew Spiranovic. Wang is by no means a complete centre back but he handled an admittedly feeble Meizhou Hakka attack competently and, more importantly, gave his side a vital 1-0 with a towering header with less than 15 minutes remaining. It is worth noting that Mezihou’s Gibril Sankoh would have again warranted inclusion if the foreign quota hadn’t been filled elsewhere.

Left-back – Xue Ya’nan – Dalian Transcendence

No outstanding left-back this week, so we’re going to cheat a bit by including Xue Ya’nan who started the game as a midfielder and only moved into the defence in the 2nd half. Xue had an eventful game where he seemed to be all over the field. As well as missing a first half penalty, he also went close with a another effort before finally breaking the deadlock with a goal 2 minutes into the second half. Yunnan Lijiang equalised shortly after, and Xue then switched to left-back where he spent the remainder of the half camped in the opposition half as his side pounded the visitors in their ultimately successful quest for a winner.

Right-wing – Matheus – Shijiazhuang Ever Bright

The Brazilian was making just his third start of the season thanks to injury, but made a big impact when he scored a fine solo goal at the end of a driving run to give his side a first half lead. That advantage had evaporated into a 2-1 deficit by half-time and Matheus’s earlier successful dribble may have encouraged him to be excessively selfish for the rest of the game, but the Brazilian continued to make a nuisance of himself and was rewarded when he drew a penalty area foul from Jonathan Ferrari in the second half. Having missed a spot kick last week, Matheus was denied the opportunity to double his own tally in favour of Adriano, but the winger’s contribution to his side’s 2-2 draw had already been made.

Defensive Midfield – Ma Xingyu – Qingdao Huanghai

Minus the first half of their inaugural 2013 season, Ma has been with Huanghai for the entirety of their short history and is an indispensable part of their midfield. The Shandong Luneng youth product was outstanding this week as he disrupted Shenzhen’s attacks and played the simple passes needed to allow Huanghai to launch forays of their own. At 27, Ma is coming into his prime, and one wonders if a move to a grander stage may be in the offing if Huanghai miss out on promotion this season.

Attacking Midfield – Deng Zhuoxiang – Qingdao Huanghai

After stuttering for a few weeks following his promising season debut, Deng Zhuoxiang’s career resurrection continued this week. The former international’s career has been riddled by injuries, but he seems to be rediscovering his rhythm and was very good this week as part of Huanghai’s outstanding midfield. Indeed, Deng was not quite at the standard of Ma Xingyu or Spaniard Joan Verdu, who misses out because of the foreign quota, but he produced a perfect cross for Marti Crespi’s headed equaliser. The Wuhan native’s time at the very highest level of Chinese football may be behind him, but if he continues like this, the Shanghai Shenhua loanee could earn himself a regular CSL gig next season.

Left-wing – Xiang Hantian(U23) – Beijing Renhe

The 21-year-old Xiang was a regular in Renhe’s team last season and often failed to justify his inclusion ahead of more established stars like Feng Renliang and Wang Gang. Wang Baoshan’s faith was rewarded this week, though, as Xiang capped a solid performance by scoring the goal of the round. Goalkeeper Zhang Lie rolled the ball to Xiang who picked it up in his own half before beating three Zhejiang Yiteng players and slotting home courtesy of a slight deflection. Unfortunately, the youngster’s afternoon was tarnished when he was stretchered off injured in the second half following a nasty tackle from Wang Kai..

Foward – Nyasha Mushekwi – Dalian Yifang

Mushekwi overcame a slow start to this game to totally turn things on their head within the space of four first half minutes. With the first half drawing to a close and his side trailing 1-0, the big Zimbabwean first beat makeshift centre back Zheng Kaimu to a speculative long ball before sliding home, and then prodded in a second from Wang Jinxian’s cross. Just as he did in round 2 against Beijing BG, the 29-year-old completely altered the outcome of a game with two deadly finishes within minutes of each other.

Forward – Marcelo Moreno – Wuhan Zall

Two goals and an assist for Moreno as part of Wuhan’s 4-2 win over Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard, but there are some major caveats in what was a controversial game. The Bolivian international’s opener came courtesy of a disputed 10th minute penalty, and his assist for Wuhan’s third came when he diverted a shot into the path of Jean Evrad Kouassi who was clearly in an offside position. Nothing controversial about his second goal, though, which was a powerful header, although questions may be asked about why Xinjiang defender Song Xie didn’t bother jumping to challenge him. Whatever the controversy, Moreno’s output continues to be impressive and he has already managed six goals and three assists in just seven matches this season.

Teams from the previous two rounds

Round 5 

(4-4-1-1): Sun Shuobo (Wuhan Zall); Xu Qing (Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard), Wang Hongyou (Dalian Transcendence), Quan Lei (Hohhot Zhongyou), Lv Jianjun (Shijiazhuang Ever Bright); Abdulhamit Abdugheni (U23 – Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard), Xue Yanan (Dalian Transcendence), Xu Liang (Shenzhen FC), Aboubakar Oumarou (Shenzhen FC); Adriano (Shijiazhuang Ever Bright); Marcelo Moreno (Wuhan Zall)

Round 6

(4-4-2): Zhu Zilin (Hohhot Zhongyou); Xu Qing (Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard), Zhang Song (Zhejiang Yiteng), Wang Wanpeng (Dalian Yifang), Rao Weihui (Beijing Renhe); Abdulhamit Abdugheni (U23 – Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard), Adam Hughes (Zhejiang Yiteng), Shi Liang (Beijing Renhe), Wang Jinxian (U23 – Dalian Yifang); Cleiton Silva (Shanghai Shenxin), Jaime Ayovi (Beijing Renhe)

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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