Changchun Yatai secured a 1-1 draw against rivals Liaoning FC to maintain a run of three league games unbeaten.
The home side, who are currently unbeaten in all competitions in the month of May, will have felt disappointed to not claim all three points in this ‘local’ derby.
Changchun took the lead after just 28 minutes thanks to Tan Long, who earned his fourth goal of the season – tying Yang Chaosheng for second-most goals on the team.
Yang himself was given the start by manager Chen Jingang, who decided to bring Spanish midfielder Jose Jurado back into the starting XI – with Brazilian forward Maurides sitting out.
The home side held on to the lead for nearly a third of the game, before Liaoning’s Wang Hao brought things level after 54 minutes.
Changchun Yatai midfielder Li Xiaoming appeared to take part of the blame for Liaoning’s equaliser – being substituted immediately afterwards and taking to social media to apologise to fans.
Neither team was able to take the lead again and both North Eastern clubs ended the day with shared points.
The draw, and other results around the league, saw Changchun Yatai slip back down to eighth in China League One.
Changchun Yatai now sitting three points behind fourth-placed Shijiazhuang Ever Bright and five points behind second-placed Guangdong Southern Tigers.
Despite the loss, the team’s recent change in form is a positive that fans will be hoping can be built upon as the season progresses.
Promotion is an expectation for the club this season, with Chen Jingang having an important transfer window in the summer that can be used to bolster the team further.
If Chinese international and veteran defender and midfielder Fan Xiaodong is able to return to the side this summer, that will almost feel like having a brand new signing.
The 32-year-old would provide some real quality for the team, potentially sitting in the heart of midfield alongside Sun Jun, Zhang Li and Jurado – depending on which line-up the manager prefers that week.
Being unbeaten this month is also impressive for a team that looked to almost be in free fall just a few weeks ago.
Continuing this upwards trend should see the club involved in a real promotion battle by the end of the season.
Changchun Yatai will now travel to face Qingdao Huanghai next Saturday, with the coastal club potentially having Yaya Toure in the line-up – depending on his current trial.