How did the CSL’s international players fare over the break?


The final international break of 2017 ended this week, with the final World Cup qualification spots up for grabs, as teams across the globe hoped that they too could book their tickets to Russia.

Here’s the full round-up of how the Chinese Super League’s international stars fared during the break.

Giovanni Moreno

There’s a certain irony here. Moreno plays his club football for CSL side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, and over the international break played one of his matches in China. This time though he wore the famous yellow and blue of his native Colombia. The match itself was a mismatch between a well drilled footballing nation already at next year’s World Cup, and one looking to find its feet on the world platform.

The 4-0 scoreline in Chongqing told a story of a Colombian side looking for an instant response from their 2-1 defeat to South Korea.

Felipe Pardo opened the scoring early on in the sixth minute set the early momentum, with Carlos Bacca and two from Miguel Borja completing the rout. A win for Moreno against the country that he resides in.

Renato Augusto

There were not a lot of talking points from the drab goalless draw between England and Brazil at Wembley. While the England defence received plaudits for keeping out the talents of Neymar and Jesus, it was the Brazilian midfield which controlled a large majority of the game.

At the heart of the Brazilian midfield was Renato Augusto, a name not commonly known to European football fans but an integral cog to the success of Flamengo, Bayer Leverkusen and now Beijing Guoan.

His decisive passes, combined with good control of the ball and ability to create space out of nothing, frustrated the England midfielders all night as Brazil dominated possession with 66% of the ball. Augusto was replaced on 68 minutes by Fernandinho but his performance will delight Beijing Sinobo Guoan.

Trent Sainsbury

At half-time in Sydney, Australian nerves were tangible as they looked to qualify for football’s grandest tournament against Honduras. Aiming to qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup, neither team had scored over 135 minutes, and going into the second half there was a real possibility that they may miss out.

The performance of Australia’s frontline stepped up when they needed to most, with Mile Jedinak scoring a hat-trick.

Yet it was Jiangsu Suning defender Trent Sainsbury who helped create the foundations for that success, the centre-back was the cool head on Wednesday night, keeping Honduras’ dangerman Anthony Lozano quiet in the 3-1 victory.

What is even more incredible is that Sainsbury delayed surgery on a long-term injury to play his part in driving Australia over the line. While Jiansu Suning may look dimly on the decision, there’s no doubt the Wallabies appreciated it.

Benjamin Moukandjo

An unused substitute in Cameroon’s 2-2 draw with Zambia, a result which marked the end of their World Cup qualification campaign.

The African Cup of Nations champions and recent Confederation Cup participants already knew they would not be booking a plane ticket to Russia after their 1-1 draw against Nigeria on September 5 ended any hopes of the nation qualifying for the World Cup.

John Obi Mikel

The former Chelsea and now Tianjin TEDA midfielder starred in the centre of the park against Argentina, in a 4-2 scoreline which reverberated across the footballing globe.

Few pundits and commentators expected Argentina to lose in their own backyard, but goals from Kelechi Iheanacho, Brian Idowu and two from Alex Iwobi stunned the partisan crowd.

Nigeria possesses a young, hungry team but the experience of Mikel in the midfield was vital to close down space as the Argentines became desperate to salvage any pride.