Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

China: Super League 2010 Preview

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on March 25, 2010
Beijing Guoan FC

2009 Super League champions Beijing Guo'an

China’s Super League (CSL) begins this weekend after a period of recent turmoil which saw two clubs disqualifed from this year’s competition after a matchfixing scandal and many of the game’s highest profile figures having been questioned or charged with corruption. Thankfully focus is starting to turn back to the football especially as four of China’s top clubs have been in action in the AFC Champions League. The Chinese Super League begins its seventh season on Saturday and “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” previews the big kick-off.

Beijing Guo’an won their first Super League title in 2009 just pipping runners-up Changchun Yatai by a single point. The champions are also the only Chinese team in the AFC Champions League who have a winning record at the halfway stage of the competition so confidence is high in the ranks. Australian Joel Griffiths has signed for the club on a permanent basis after he impressed during his loan deal from A-League Newcastle United Jets last season and captain Xu Yunlong still carries on as Beijing’s talisman in his eleventh year at the club.

However there are plenty of pretenders to the Super League throne for Beijing to worry about. Shanghai Shenhua have now merged with the former Shanghai United club keeping the name of the former as they already had a secure fan base and are one of Chinese football’s biggest names. Yu Tao still retains the captaincy whilst the club have signed Brazilian attacking midfielder Vicente on a free transfer from fellow Super League side Shaanxi Chanba. Changchun Yatai, Henan Construction and Shandong Luneng are also prime contenders as they have plenty of match practice due to their participation in the AFC Champions League. Changchun Yatai have a new coach in Shen Xiangfu and will want to repeat their 2007 CSL title triumph (which they achieved in their first season in the top flight) but will rely on the goals of new signing Johnny Woodly Lambert who was top scorer for Chongqing Lifan last season with ten goals. Former Poland striker Emmanuel Olisadebe, who can count Panathinaikos and Portsmouth among his former clubs, is part of a dangerous Henan Construction side who only finished three points behind the champions in 2009. Chinese national striker Han Peng will be the danger man for Shandong Luneng, two-time champions of the CSL in 2006 and 2008, and will want to build on the eleven goals he scored in last season’s championship, in which his team finished in the final AFC Champions League place by virtue of a better head-to-head record against Shanghai Shenhua and Tianjin Teda (who now have Dutch legend Arie Haan in charge).

Guangzhou FC and Chengdu Blades were the clubs who were expelled from the Super League for their part in alleged matchfixing, therefore allowing the teams that finished 15th and 16th in last season’s championship, Hangzhou Lucheng and Chongqing Lifan, to retain their places for the 2010 season. Liaoning Hunyong and Nanchang Bayi were the top two teams in China’s First Division last season and have swapped places with the expelled clubs. The sixteen teams in the Super League will play each other in a conventional home and away, round-robin basis with the team who accumulates the most points after thirty games declared the winner and the league runs until early November.

CHINA SUPER LEAGUE 2010 OPENING FIXTURES

Beijing Guo’an v Nanchang Bayi

Changchun Yatai v Liaoning Hongyun

Changsha Ginde v Shanghai Shenhua

Henan Construction v Chongqing Lifan

Qingdao Jonoon v Tianjin Teda

Shaanxi Chanba v Dalian Shide

Shandong Luneng v Hangzhou Lucheng

Shenzhen Ruby v Jiangsu Sainty

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