After being handed a lesson in Suzhou last time out, Shanghai Sunfun returned to their home in Fengxian and welcomed Hunan Billows. The 6th placed Hunan side had some boisterous away fans in tow, who gave some colour and atmosphere to the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Stadium.
CHINESE LEAGUE TWO
Xie Fuquan 83′
Hunan Billows 1
Wang Jun 80′
The early pace of this game seemed that Hunan had brought a high pressing game that was full of energy and Sunfun were being forced to match them. Such an approach created little action in either box until Hunan’s Qiu Lingfeng slipped through onside but was off target after the quarter hour.
After that first breakthrough, Hunan took control and peppered balls in and around the goal forcing several corners and testing Liu Shuai in goal but not being able to find a way past the Sunfun captain. Sunfun seemed content to catch them on the counter and would have been content in going in at half time having weathered the storm locked at 0-0.
The second half began with a different approach with 2 quick attacks from Sunfun’s Shenhua loanee, Wu Changqi penetrating the box twice within a minute from quick passes to the right wing. Both sides forwards were being caught in possession when facing away from goal as they tried to open up space while holding off multiple defenders.
Clear chances and space in attack were at a premium and a mix up from Liu Shuai had the ball bobbling out of his hands at the edge of the box was the major Hunan chance of the early period. His scrambling defense saved his blushes and cleared before the oncoming Hunan striker could poke the ball into the empty net.
Sunfun were camped in their defensive half and relying on the counter attack throughout the 2nd half .Wu Changqi and Shang Yin, occasionally joined by Wu Junkui, were sent to fend for themselves against up to seven covering Hunan players in any given foray forward. Only on one occasion did they truly break with purpose, forcing a 5 on 2 situation at halfway which resulted in Wu Changqi shooting straight at Hunan’s stopper, Dong Hang from close range.
The scramble for clear chances continued and the closest the match came to an opener was when a blocked shot bobbled a metre from the line and a huge collision occurred between Hunan goalkeeper, defender and Shenfan striker. All 3 players were sprawled over the ground afterwards but somehow the ball managed to stay out.
Immediately after that heart attack, Hunan broke the deadlock when a looping header beat Liu Shuai only to bounce off the far post and into the stride of an ecstatic Wang Jun. His tap in to the open net had Hunan leading with just ten minutes remaining.
It flicked a switch for Sunfun, who immediately pushed forward with purpose, finally playing one touch, triangle passes in the attacking third. Space opened up for them, and after 83rd minute cross to the back stick was prodded in by Xie Fuquan from close range.
The arm wrestle finished 1-1 and it was a fair result given that it only really opened up in the final moments. Both sides will need to create more in their next matches where they both meet top 3 opposition as Hunan try and catch the pack of promotion candidates and Sunfun chase points to get away from the bottom end of the table.
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