Changchun Yatai continued their climb up the China League One table with a 3-2 home victory over Shaanxi Chang’an this past weekend.
Having started the season in extremely shaky form, the North-Eastern club now sit in sixth place in the Chinese second tier – just two points behind second-place club Guizhou Zhicheng.
Chen Jingang’s side picked up their sixth win in 13 league games after the international break – putting them in a strong position to challenge for promotion in the second half of the season.
The home side opened the scoring against the struggling Xi’an club after just 15 minutes thanks to Brazilian forward Maurides – earning his second league goal since arriving in the Middle Kingdom.
The game would prove to be largely back-and-forth between the two clubs, however, with the visitors equalising thanks to Oscar Maritu just before the half-time break.
It didn’t take too long for Changchun Yatai to regain control of the game, with top goalscorer Richairo Zivkovic scoring his eighth goal of the season just ten minutes after the break.
A 76th minute equaliser, again coming from former Yanbian striker Maritu, looked to threaten Chen’s side’s chances of claiming all three points.
However, it was China international Tan Long that rescued his side – registering his sixth goal of the season and putting the game out of reach of the visitors.
The hard-fought victory puts Changchun in a strong position heading towards the mid-way point of the season, with promotion an absolute must if Chen hopes to remain in charge beyond this year.
With Zivkovic finally starting to come good and the likes of Tan, Maurides and Yang Chaosheng giving the team a number of attacking options, the one-time CSL champions have a real chance at getting their season back on track.
With only two points separating Changchun from the first automatic promotion spot, the club has a real opportunity to bounce back into the top tier at the first time of asking.
While positive results may feel like they are harder to achieve than they should be, victories such as this will help the team kick on and put in the hard graft that should pay off by the end of the season.