On 4th of March, Chinese Women’s Super League returned with the number of teams in the league expanded from 10 last season to 12. Last season’s top flight only had half of a slot for relegation and Henan Jianye beat Dalian Pro with an emphatic 3-0 win, avoiding the drop. With the home and away format restored and live audience returning. This year’s Women’s Super League saw the opening round scoring 11 goals, but the distribution is somewhat uneven.
The game was marred by the fact that the fans were barred from entering the grounds and had to watch the game, albeit for free, through the iron fence. The defending champions Wuhan Chegu Jianghan University lost superstar Wang Shuang as she joined Louisville FC and backline foundation Wang Xiaoxue as she was badly injured on international duty. But the juggernaut still managed to thrash Yongchuan 4-0. Yao Lingwei opened the scoring at the 11th-minute mark from the spot and Temwa Chawinga followed up to seal the deal early in the first half at 32nd minute. Ugushi Dehir Opalanochi and Li Yanfei brought the icing on the cake in quick succession in the opening minutes of the second. The team signed National Team captain Wang Shanshan during the offseason. and is still one of the best financially supported teams in the league. The goals in 50th and 51st minutes signalled to the rest of the league that the team still want no less than a repeat of last season.
In the Shanghai suburbs, Shaanxi spent much of the first half at Jinshan Sports Centre trying to avoid conceding. But the team’s back line still faltered in the 42nd minute, leaving Shanghai ACB defender Ma Yingshuang unmarked in the penalty area. Ma finished with low shot to break the deadlock.
In the second half, Shaanxi’s captain Yang Xiaoxia came up with a long pass from own half in the 72th minute and the ball fell into the opponent’s penalty area. Liu Jieru failed to clear the ball and the substitute Wu Yuwei seized the opportunity to put Shaanxi back on level terms. In the 92nd minute, Shanghai’s Barbra Banda, 2020 season’s golden boot winner and a part-time boxer, was able to hold off multiple defenders in the box to finish the hope of the visitors.
Elsewhere, Guangdong fail to hold off Changchun as Zhao Yingying and Urgamal scored in different halves to overcome a brilliant strike by Xie Qiwen in the 23rd minute.
Beijing drew a goalless game against Henan. Having lost important attacking players including He Xiangnan and National Team skipper Wang Shanshan, Beijing almost stole three points away in Zhengzhou at the dying minutes of the game but the looping shot from Wang Yanwen just went over the bar. The game has reported attendance of 3852 as Benyuan stadium at Zhengzhou University will continue to provide weekend entertainment for a city that otherwise not well-known for liveliness. Beijing’s next opponent will be playing Guangzhou. Due the ‘Two Meetings’ in Beijing, their first home game will be off the bill until 15th April, when they will host Yongchuan.
With more people attending, Sichuan managed to squeak a 1-0 win over Shandong in front of 5587. Tang Han provided the inspiration to get the home team off to a good start for the season. The team finished 8th last season and the visitors 5th.
In an all-Yangtze affair, Wuxi and Hangzhou ended in a 0-0 draw, making it a second in the round. Next round will be 8th.