The midweek brings more footballing excitement as the Fourth Round of the Chinese FA Cup takes place tomorrow.
Several lower league teams are still in the running after knocking out Super League sides, and the lower ranked teams will certainly be hoping to send some more big leaguers stumbling headfirst out of the tournament.
One such team is Nei Mongol who beat struggling CSL side Changchun Yatai at home in Inner Mongolia last round. This time it’s Guangzhou R&F who will travel the 1,981,31 kilometres (1 231,13 miles) to Hohhot. R&F are in poor form and have drawn their last five games in the league, they will be looking to turn their form around against a Nei Mongol side who sit second from bottom in League One.
The biggest match of this round is the China Derby between Shanghai Shenhua and Beijing Guoan. Both teams have been struggling in the league recently and could be looking at the FA Cup as a way, perhaps the only one, of getting Champions League football next year. Both teams will surely give their all and a defeat could well mean the end of the season already, in terms of a hunt for glory.
The two surprises of this season’s FA Cup are League Two sides Heilongjiang Lava, who will face Tianjian Quanjian in the early kick-off, and Suzhou Dongwu who are up against second-placed CSL side Shanghai SIPG. Everybody loves an underdog story but this is the place where their dreams will end. Both CSL sides are in good form and should have no problems dispatching of the lower league opposition.
There’s also a pure League One matchup when Hangzhou Greentown face Shanghai Shenxin. This could be a close one as the league match between the two ended 0-0 earlier this season. Both teams will count themselves lucky that they drew a fellow League One side and will hope to make it to the quarter-finals.
The rest of the matches in this Fourth Round reads like a normal Super League matchday with strugglers Jiangsu Suning and Henan Jianye facing each other, mid-table Tianjin TEDA play fourth-placed Shandong Luneng and league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande host third-placed Hebei China Fortune.
It’s all to play for as the teams fight for a title and a passageway into next year’s Champions League.