Round 17 of the Chinese Super League has come and gone and it‘s been a round full of one goal wins. Five of the eight games ended with the winner walking away having scored just one measly goal more than their opponent.
We start with the match from Friday and one of the three games that didn’t have a one goal win. The surprise package of the season, Tianjin Quanjian hammered a tame Shanghai Shenhua 3-0. They were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to a brace from Zhao Xuri, and Alexandre Pato blasted in a long range shot to seal the deal for the newly promoted side. Tianjin move up to third place while Shanghai Shenhua are tenth.
One of the games that did finish with a one goal win was the early kick-off on Saturday between Changchun Yatai and Guangzhou R&F. After their bright start, R&F have faded away and a late goal from former Watford striker Odion Ighalo meant they lost another match. Ye Chugui opened the scoring for R&F and it wasn’t until the second half that the game kicked back in gear. Ighalo pulled Changchun level after less than ten minutes, Szabolcs Huszti missed a penalty after 70 minutes and Du Zheyu put Changchun in the lead with 12 minutes to go. Then Xiao Zhi scored for R&F with six minutes to go and the blue-clad fans from Guangzhou thought that they would at least get one point from this match. That was before Ighalo once again put Changchun on his back and carried them across the finish line by scoring a goal in the very last minute of normal time. Devastation for R&F who have now lost three on the bounce while Changchun resides in the spot behind them, in ninth, on the table having won three in a row.
All of a sudden Beijing Guoan seemed to have found their feet. It could be the introduction of new manager Roger Schmidt or it could be Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano’s sudden surge of form. The former Red Bull Salzburg man has now scored in his last three games, including both goals in the 2-0 win over Guangzhou Evergrande last week. He opened the scoring against Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng this week as well, with a penalty goal just before half time as Beijing won comfortably 2-0. Soriano also assisted Zhang Chiming for Beijing’s second just before the hour mark. This new resurgent Beijing could see them climb the table and maybe sneak into the fourth placed spot that might give a Champions League spot, depending on who wins the FA Cup.
League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande have stumbled ever so slightly in recent weeks but found their form again as Champions League-spot contenders Shandong Luneng were defeated 2-1. Ricardo Goulart opened the scoring in added time of the first half before Graziano Pelle pulled Shandong back in it on the hour. An amazing counter attack that saw Goulart thread the needle to find substitute Zhou Zheng inside the Shandong box who just about snuck the ball past the Shandong keeper nine minutes before full time, meant that Evergrande were back to their winning ways.
A team that did not find back to winning ways were Hebei China Fortune who lost 2-1 to Chongqing Lifan and slipped to fourth place for the first time in what seems like an eternity. Alan Kardec and Fernandinho scored the goals for Chongqing, before Ezequiel Lavezzi tucked away a penalty to try and rally Hebei, but it was too late. Hebei needs to win again if they want to save that Champions League place, while Chongqing are in good form having now won three straight games.
At the bottom, Henan Jianye took one large step away from relegation thanks to Borek Dockal. They were trailing 1-0 at half time to fellow relegation candidate Liaoning Whowin after Yang Yu scored and Christian Bassogog missed a penalty. It only took four minutes before Dockal pulled Henan level but then they had to wait until well into extra time before Dockal again saved Henan. Alone with the Liaoning keeper, he did nothing wrong and slotted it past him to secure three very important points. Henan now sit 12th while Liaoning have slipped to 14th.
Bottom-dwellers Yanbian had to play second placed Shanghai SIPG and they did not pull off a shock. A combo of Elkeson and Wu Lei saw the title-contenders go 2-0 up as the latter assisted the first for the opener, before reversing the roles for SIPG’s second. Hwang Il-Soo pulled one back for Yanbian but Hulk hammered the final nail in the Yanbian coffin five minutes into extra time to seal the result at 3-1.
Tianjin TEDA and Jiangsu Suning finished off this round of Chinese Super League action and TEDA will rue Mbaye Diagne’s missed penalty in the 53rd minute. Two minutes later they did manage to go 1-0 up but Roger Martinez’s equaliser five minutes into extra time meant Jiangsu got one point from the 1-1 draw. Neither team is happy with a single point, that means TEDA creep ever closer to falling into the relegation zone and it means Jiangsu were unable to climb out of it. Better luck next week.