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All to play for in Chinese Super League relegation play-off

Chinese Super League

The Chinese Super League relegation play-off still hangs in the balance heading into the second leg, after the two sides played out a draw in the first.

Wuhan Zall, the team hoping to retain their position in the Chinese top tier, were held 2-2 by China League One’s Zhejiang Greentown, thanks to a 99th minute penalty from Dino Ndlovu.

The top tier club looked set to walk away from the first leg with the victory after Li Hang put them ahead after just 14 minutes, with Jean Evrard Kouassi extending their lead to two before the half.

The second tier club, however, continued to battle on an pulled themselves within one ten minutes after the break through Nyasha Mushekwi – giving them hopes of continuing their push for promotion after spending the past three years in China League One.

When the game reached 90 minutes, it looked as if a result was beyond Zheng Xiong’s team, but when they received a shock penalty almost ten minutes after the end of regulation, there was no chance that Ndlovu, the team’s top scorer this year, was going to miss.

The South African, who is now the club’s all-time highest scorer, has now given his side a real chance at overcoming the odds and secure the final spot in the 2021 Chinese Super League, with the Coronavirus pandemic forcing significant changes to promotion and relegation this year.

With Changchun Yatai winning the China League One title and securing the only automatic promotion spot, Zhejiang and Wuhan still need to secure victory in two days’ time to determine whether or not one will be promoted, or the other will remain where they are.

Zhejiang will be hoping to defeat the CSL club before their Chinese FA Cup second round tie against another top tier opposition, Shandong Luneng, just seven days later.

Promotion to the top tier will be a huge boost for the club, players and the fans and could give them plenty of confidence entering the cup tie, which could see plenty of upsets as a result of the AFC Champions League taking place at the same time.

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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