The final whistle has been blown. The dust has settled on the final round of the Super League. The only thing left to decide ahead of this round was who would get the third and fourth place that could give Champions League football come next year.
Tianjin Quanjian looked to have the most difficult of matches as they played league winners Guangzhou Evergrande, however, as we saw last round, Evergrande have seemed a bit out of it after they won the title and Anthony Modeste opened the scoring for Quanjian after only 18 minutes. Sun Ke then doubled Quanjian’s lead after 61 minutes before Feng Xiaoting pulled one back for Evergrande. But it was not enough and Tianjin Quanjian won 2-1, putting pressure on Hebei.
Because with Quanjian’s win, it meant that Hebei China Fortune had to beat Shandong Luneng away from home if they wanted to keep their third place. But it started horribly for Hebei. Hao Junmin and Papiss Cisse put Shandong 2-0 up going into halftime. Then Ezequiel Lavezzi scored twice right after the break, one from the penalty spot, to put the teams level. But just three minutes later Diego Tardelli scored to put Shandong ahead 3-2. After 71 minutes Dong Xuesheng brought it back level yet again, and yet AGAIN Diego Tardelli would have none of it as he scored only a minute later. But the madness wasn’t over. Lavezzi scored his third of the day from yet another penalty, three minutes into extra time, and then, you guessed it, Tardelli converted his own penalty five minutes into extra time to give Shandong an insane 5-4 win to close out their season.
You won’t find better propaganda for the CSL than this match.
The fact that Tianjin Quanjian won rendered Guangzhou R&F’s 2-0 win over Chongqing Lifan useless as they had no chance to jump Hebei on head-to-head results and would have needed Tianjin to lose if they were to get the fourth place. Nonetheless, a positive end to the season for R&F.
That means that Tianjin Quanjian will play Champions League football next season while Hebei China Fortune must hope that Shanghai SIPG win the Cup Final later this month so they have the chance to play in Asia’s biggest competition.
Speaking of the upcoming Cup Final, let’s look at how our two finalists ended their respective seasons.
Shanghai Shenhua had an easy day on the job, dispatching sorry Liaoning Whowin easily, 4-1, resigning their opponents to last place in the league. For Shanghai SIPG the season didn’t end as well as they got beaten by ten men Jiangsu Suning. Lu Wenjun put SIPG up after only eight minutes, before Alex Teixeira and Li Ang gave Suning the lead 2-1 going into halftime. Xie Pengfei got his marching orders after receiving his second yellow card only four minutes into the second half. Hulk then brought SIPG level in the 80th minute from the penalty spot, but Benjamin Moukandjo wanted the final laugh and scored the final goal after 86 minutes, giving Suning a 3-2 win.
Elsewhere, Tianjin TEDA beat Henan Jianye 1-0 and leapfrogged their opponents in the table, finishing 13th, while Yanbian Funde did as we thought they might in our preview and gave their fans a last good memory from their time in the Super League. They beat Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng 3-0. Zhicheng probably won’t be too fussed as they finished in a brilliant eight place in their first season in the CSL.
Beijing Guoan ended a miserable season by being beaten 2-1 by Changchun Yatai and the fans at the Worker’s Stadium will hope that Roger Schmidt can use the winter well and bring Beijing back in to the Champions League fight, where they belong.
That’s all from the CSL this year, but don’t go anywhere. There’s still the Cup Final to come, the first match is on the 19th of November while the second leg is on the 26th.