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Wuhan Zall secure 2021 Chinese Super League position

Wuhan Zall

It was by the slimmest of margins, but Wuhan Zall defeated Zhejiang Greentown in the Chinese Super League relegation playoff.

The two sides were deadlocked after a 2-2 score in the first leg, which was secured thanks to a Dino Ndlovu penalty in the 99th minute, with the Chinese Super League club having led for the majority of the match up until that point.

It was a penalty once again, this time scored by Li Hang, that was the deciding factor – seeing the Hubei club remain in the top tier of Chinese football, consigning Zhejiang to another year in the second tier.

The victory is vindication for the Han Army, who earned 17 points in the group stage of the season, which would have been good for ninth place in a regular campaign.

Tianjin TEDA, who earned just three points in the first stage, managed to avoid relegation thanks to their knockout victories over Shenzhen and Dalian Professional leading to a 9th/10th place playoff with Henan Jianye, which they narrowly lost.

If any team deserved to avoid the drop from the Super League, based on their performances this season, it was certainly Wuhan Zall.

For Zhejiang, they will feel aggrieved to have been denied promotion after finishing second in China League One, falling three points behind league champions Changchun Yatai in the promotion stage.

The 2020 season is full of unique situations and will be spoken about for many years to come, with previously impressive teams struggling, Jiangsu Suning winning their first-ever top tier title and the manner in which Wuhan survived the drop and Zhejiang were forced to remain in the second tier.

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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