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SIPGs CSL Campaign is Finally Laid Out

This is your home at WEF for all things Shanghai SIPG. Last week, the “preliminary” schedule was released. Unfortunately, despite that fixture list being published by many leading Chinese sports media, this schedule had nothing to do with the official schedule that was released today. Jeff Beresford-Howe takes a lot at the correct 2018 schedule for SIPG.

Mighty weird

The 2018 CSL schedule is as odd a schedule as you’ll see any league play anywhere in the world this year. For SIPG, this is how it goes:

— The season opens March 3 at the Stadium against newly promoted Dalian Yifeng, that side’s first trip to the Stadium since 2014, when “Shanghai Dongya” beat “Dalien Aerbin” 2-0. This is one of only six Saturday matches at the Stadium this year, and like all 18 home matches currently on the SIPG fixture list, it’s at night.

— The derby is right out of the gate, March 10 at Hongkou. This is part of early season fixture pile-ups for both SIPG and Shenhua, who also have Asian Champion’s League matches to play. From March 3 to March 18, the two each have five matches in fifteen days. After two weeks of rest, from March 30 to April 29, they each then have eight matches in thirty-one days.

— The midweek ACL slog to Australia in April to play Melbourne Victory is cradled by home matches against Hebei and TEDA; the victory for SIPG at Kawasaki Frontale last night improves the much-to-be-desired chance that this will be a dead rubber manned by second- and third-tier choices for Vitor Pereira.

— Beijing Guo’an swings into town May 5.

— The entire CSL takes a break for the World Cup from May 20 to July 17 — 58 days. Never mind that China isn’t playing in the World Cup, or that hardly any players from the CSL will be on World Cup rosters, and while we’re at it, never mind that most of the World Cup matches, set for prime time viewing in Europe, wouldn’t conflict with CSL match times.

Summertime and the livin’ ain’t easy

— After Germany has won the World Cup again, the CSL rushes to make up for lost time. Everyone has eight matches in thirty-two days in the middle of the summer heat. What could go wrong? Hulk may weigh under 150 pounds by the end of it. For SIPG, the dash starts with a trip to Jinan.

— As part of that stretch, Guangzhou Evergrande comes to town on July 21 and the derby is at the Stadium on  August 11.

— The CSL is honoring both the September and October post-World Cup international breaks — an odd choice considering that they’re almost entirely meaningless, internationally speaking. It seems like the CFA could have used that time to help ease the fixture crowding earlier in the season.

— SIPG is going to want to have a bit of a cushion as the end of the season approaches: their last four matches are Shandong at home, Evergrande at Tianhe, Renhe at home, and at Quanjian. The match in Tianjin on November 11 is part of the last-day extravaganza, when all sixteen teams will be in action at 15:00.

2018 SIPG Fixture List

(Home fixtures in bold)

Tuesday, February 20, 20:00, Melbourne Victory

Saturday, March 3, 19:35, CSL, Dalian Yifeng

Wednesday, March 7, 20:00, ACL, Ulsan Hyundai

Saturday, March 10, 19:35, CSL, Shanghai Shenhua

Tuesday, March 13, 18:00, ACL, Ulsan Hyundai

Sunday, March 18, 15:30, CSL, Guangzhou R&F

Friday, March 30, 19:35, CSL, Chongqing Lifan

Wednesday, April 4, 20:00, ACL Kawasaki Frontale

Saturday, April 7, 19:35, CSL, Henan Jianye

Friday, April 13, 20:00, CSL, Hebei CFFC

Wednesday, April 18, 17:00, ACL, Melbourne Victory

Sunday, April 22, 20:00, CSL Tianjin TEDA

April 24-26, FAC, Zhejiang Greentown, Shaanxi Athletic or Hebei Elite

Sunday, April 29, 15:30, CSL, Changchun Yatai

Saturday, May 5, 19:35, CSL, Beijing Guo’an

Saturday, May 12, 15:30, CSL, Guizhou Zhicheng

Sunday, May 20, 20:00, CSL, Jiangsu Suning

Tuesday, July 17, 19:35, CSL, Shandong Luneng

Saturday, July 21, 19:35, CSL, Guangzhou Evergrande

Saturday, July 28, 18:00, CSL, Beijing Renhe

Wednesday, August 1, 20:00, CSL, Tianjin Quanjian

Sunday, August 5, 19:35, CSL, Dalian Yifeng

Saturday, August 11, 19:35, CSL, Shanghai Shenhua

Wednesday, August 15, 18:00, CSL, Guangzhou R&F

Saturday, August 18, 19:35, CSL, Chongqing Lifan

Saturday, August 25, 19:35, CSL, Henan Jianye

Saturday, September 1, 19:35, CSL, Hebei CFFC

Friday, September 14, 19:35, CSL, Tianjin TEDA

Saturday, September 22, 19:35, CSL, Changchun Yatai

Saturday, September 29, 19:35, CSL, Beijing Guo’an

Sunday, October 7, 19:35, CSL, Guizhou Zhicheng

Sunday, October 21, 19:35, CSL, Jiangsu Suning

Sunday, October 28, 19:35, CSL, Shandong Luneng

Saturday, November 3, 19:35, CSL, Guangzhou Evergrande

Wednesday, November 7, 19:35, CSL, Beijing Renhe

Sunday, November 11, 15:00, CSL, Tianjin Quanjian

American expat rooting for Shanghai SIPG, because they're the Oakland A's to Shenhua's San Francisco Giants.

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