Jiangsu Suning were crowned the 2020 Chinese Super League champions after a 2-1 aggregate victory over Guangzhou Evergrande.
After a 0-0 draw against the eight-time CSL champions, it was the team in blue that held on to claim victory – making club history in the process.
Goals from Éder and Alex Teixeira either side of half time were enough to earn the Suning Appliance Group-owned club their first-ever top tier title, making them champions of Chinese football for the first time, having come runners-up in 2012 and 2016.
The unique circumstances surrounding the 2020 season has already seen a number of surprising scenarios play out, with the likes of Tianjin TEDA and Guangzhou R&F struggling greatly during the initial group stages, with both clubs managing to avoid relegation.
Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, who were promoted to the top tier last season, have suffered relegation and Wuhan Zall will need to overcome Zhejiang Greentown, who finished 2nd in China League One’s promotion group, to maintain their top tier status – just one year after finishing 6th.
Guangzhou, along with the likes of Shanghai SIPG and Beijing Guo’an, were the odds-on favourites to claim the Chinese title, while Jiangsu were hoping to improve on an impressive 4th place finish from 2019.
Now, the Nanjing-based club have won the ultimate domestic prize – bringing their fans something never experienced before.
Under to guidance of Romanian manager Cosmin Olăroiu, the club have gone from strength to strength in each of his three seasons in charge, progressing from fifth place in 2018, fourth in 2019 and now, sitting atop the mountain at the end of the 2020 season.
The club has a chance at earning a domestic double, with a tie against Meizhou Hakka still to play in the Chinese FA Cup in two weeks’ time – a competition Jiangsu fans are more than familiar with thanks to three consecutive finals between 2014 and 2016, with the blue team lifting the cup in 2015.