Changchun Yatai fought back from a 2-0 deficit to earn a much-needed 4-3 away victory over Xinjiang Tianshan this past weekend.
The home side, who have yet to win a game in the second tier this season, took the lead after just 20 minutes thanks to a Stefano Pinho penalty.
Things looked to be turning for the worst for Changchun when Xinjiang doubled their lead four minutes before the end of the first half – again thanks to a Pinho strike.
The visitors battled back thanks to a Richairo Zivkovic hat-trick, with the first two goals coming within just two minutes of each other.
With Changchun level after 47 minutes, Yang Chaosheng notched his fourth league goal of the season to give Chen Jingang’s side a 3-2 lead after 54 minutes.
It took nearly half an hour more for Changchun Yatai to claim a real grip on the tie, with Zivkovic picking up his third in the 80th minute – keeping them just ahead of the home side.
Xinjiang threatened late on and pulled within one thanks to an 89th-minute strike from Mehmud Abdukerem.
But their own fight to pull level just wasn’t to be and the visiting side can breathe a sigh of relief after four consecutive league games without a victory.
The away win sees Changchun move up to ninth in the league table, level on points with Inner Mongolia Zhongyou and Sichuan Longfor – who sit above them on goal difference in eighth and seventh respectively.
The result, coupled with the team’s narrow progression in the CFA Cup, sees Chen Jingang given a new lease of life, with more positive results likely to satisfy fans in the short term.
There is still plenty of work to do to ensure Changchun Yatai get back to winning ways and progress back up the league table, but picking up three points away from home is a good starting point.
Changchun Yatai face a tough challenge at home next weekend when they take on Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, with the visitors currently sitting third in China League One.
If Changchun, with Zivkovic and Yang both playing featured roles, can overcome their former Chinese Super League rivals then things will certainly start to look far rosier in the North Eastern city.