Changchun Yatai made a statement of intent after securing a 4-1 victory over Shanghai Shenxin on the opening day of the China League One season.
The North-Eastern club suffered a shock relegation from the Chinese Super League last season, but only because of a poor head-to-head record against Tianjin TEDA and Chongqing Dangdai Lifan.
With the majority of the club’s team being retained, including long-time veteran Zhang Xiaofei and talented striker Tan Long, a promotion push is the minimum expectation for the 2007 CSL champions.
It was Tan Long that helped the club pick up a convincing 4-1 victory over Shenxin, who
Yatai had a shock when the home side took the lead through Pa Dibba after 37 minutes.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as Tan Long notched his first goal in the Chinese second tier just three minutes later.
The two teams kept things close before a huge late surge from Changchun saw them claim all three points in the nation’s capital.
Tan Long notched goals two and three after 75 an 82 minutes respectively before Yang Chaosheng, who was a substitute replacement for Zhou Dadi on 67 minutes, scored the fourth and final goal in the second minute of extra time.
Changchun Yatai are a club that fully deserve to be in the top level of Chinese football and have made a clear statement with this victory.
The quality of players remaining in the squad from last season should compete well in China League One, making sure the club are able to push their way back into the Super League at the first time of asking.
Manager Chen Jingang’s position with the team will be fully dependent on how the team performs at this level – with promotion the only expectation, anything less would be a huge disappointment.
It is a long season ahead for the club, but getting a win on the opening day of the season, especially by a score such as this, will no doubt boost morale with the team and the fanbase.
Victories like this must become a regular occurrence at this level if the team hope to bounce back immediately and even have a chance to add more silverware to their cabinet.