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Changchun Yatai make shock managerial change

Changchun Yatai

Changchun Yatai have made the shock decision to make a managerial change, despite a number to top performances from the team this season.

Uzbek manager Samvel Babayan was brought into the club after a disappointing end to the 2019 China League One season and had his side sitting second in Group C.

Changchun Yatai have won four of their opening seven matches this season, with two draws and one loss seeing them hold 14 points – sitting just one point behind surprise group leaders Kunshan FC.

Babayan, who has previously won titles in his home country as well as leading the Uzbekistan national team, brought in a number of players contributing to the success of Changchun Yatai this season, with imports Lucas Souza and Serginho playing key roles while the loan signing of Gao Di has created a strong partnership with top goalscorer Tan Long.

Despite the team performing well, picking up a 4-1 victory over Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard this past weekend, reports out of China suggest that Babayan had fallen out with a number of people at the club and a personnel change was decided by the board.

Replacing the Uzbek manager is former Wuhan Zall, Liaoning FC and Inner Mongolia boss Chen Yang – who was in charge of the latter until August this year.

Chen has had little success at the club’s he has previously managed, with his best record coming at Inner Mongolia – where he guided the team to 15 wins, six draws and nine losses during the 2019 China League One campaign.

During that season, Chen suffered a 3-1 loss against Changchun in the latter stage of the campaign, having previously guided his side to a 2-0 upset victory in April that year.

The Shenyang, Liaoning native will be taking over a team that is expected to push for promotion and has already started the campaign in a promising manner, meaning that anything less will be viewed as a bitter disappointment and will spell the end of his tenure at the club as quickly as it has started.

Chen’s first match in charge will come this Thursday against Nantong Zhiyun, with the 43-year-old having two matches left in the group stage of the season before the knockout rounds begin.

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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