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Changchun Yatai move within a point of promotion spots with latest victory

Changchun Yatai

Changchun Yatai put themselves within one point of the automatic promotion spots with a convincing 3-1 victory over Nei Mongol Zhongyou.

A brace from Tan Long and a third by star striker Richairo Zivkovic ensured Svetozar Sapuric’s side return home with all three points.

The North-Eastern club travelled to Inner Mongolia sitting fourth place in the China League One table, four points behind the home side.

The victory, coupled with Guizhou Hengfeng’s own success, sees Changchun remain fourth but with just one point now separating them from second place.

Tan Long, in his third season with the club, opened the scoring after just seven minutes, latching on to a precision pass from Dutchman Zivkovic before slotting the ball beyond Liu Weiguo.

A confusing turn of events saw the home side level the playing field just six minutes later.

Zivkovic appeared to be caught by a high foot around the centre circle, forcing the referee to stop play.

But it was Nei Mongol that received a free-kick, lofting the ball deep into the box, with Yu Shuai heading the ball over Shi Xiaotian.

The two sides were back and forth for much of the game, but it was the one-time CSL champions that took control.

Nei Mongol’s league-worst offence wasn’t able to stand up to the quality of Changchun’s, with Tan Long adding a second after 54 minutes.

Picking the ball up inside the penalty box, Tan sent a curling shot beyond the goalkeeper, putting the visitors back in front.

Serbian striker Stefan Drazic finally made his debut for the club in this game, coming on after just over 20 minutes, and had a hand in the club’s third goal.

Drazic, picking the ball up inside Nei Mongol’s half, made a storming run forward before slotting a clean pass out to a wide-open Zivkovic, who sent the ball into the back of the net.

Despite five minutes being added on, Changchun Yatai held firm and extended their unbeaten run to seven games, placing themselves firmly back in the promotion hunt with 11 games left this season.

With only two teams earning promotion each season, picking up such a convincing victory will have given Sapuric’s team a real belief that they can push on and claim one of those spots.

Changchun Yatai now have eight days to rest and prepare for their next challenge; a home tilt against mid-table Meizhou Hakka.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and the correspondent on Changchun Yatai for Wild East Football. James has followed the club since 2012, lived in the North-Eastern city between August 2013 and March 2018 and was a season ticket holder for the 2015 CSL campaign.

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