An intense month of midterm exams and group project due dates have come to an end and I’m able to get some writing in again. I figured I’d start by doing a short summary of what’s happened in the Chinese Super League since my last post. At that time, Shandong were at the top of the table, midway through gameweek 5. However, Guangzhou R&F beat Liaoning in the final match of the round to get back into pole position. R&F kept their noses in front with a win away to Jiangsu in their next match but have since failed to record more than 2 points from the following 4, leaving the way open for their local rivals, Guangzhou Evergrande, who are up to 6 consecutive wins at the moment, to attain the top spot that they are accustomed to. In second place, we find the expected main contenders, Shanghai SIPG, who were neck and neck with Evergrande up until their tie away to Chongqing in the 7th round and find themselves 2 points shy of their big rivals after two late goals to win 3-1 in today’s derby away to Shanghai Shenhua. Shenhua and Shandong both have a game in hand, as their clash in round 7 was postponed until September 19th due to the repairs needed after the fire that ravished Shenhua’s Hongkou Stadium. Shandong are in 5th place, one point behind R&F, 2 behind Hebei, and 6 behind SIPG and, hence, highly involved in the race for next year’s AFC Champions League spots.
At the other end of the table, Jiangsu managed to record their first win in the league this year by beating Shandong at home last week, despite winning 5 out of 6 and cruising through Group H in the ACL they were the only team left to win in the CSL and dropped right back to the very bottom after losing away to Evergrande yesterday. It may look a bit worse than it really is for Jiangsu, with four of the other sides involved in the final two matches to be played this week, it’s a real hornets nest in the lower regions with only 3 point separating them and Chongqing at 9th place.
This week will see the start of the round of sixteen in the ACL and I will try to report on at least a couple of the matches so stay tuned.