Guangzhou Evergrande beat Shanghai Shenhua 3-0. CHAMPIONS! Guangzhou have proved themselves as the best team in the country, claiming the CSL title for the 8th time in the last nine years after losing out to Shanghai SIPG last campaign. Manager Fabio Cannavaro withstood a late season wobble to collect his first CSL title. They had to win on the final day to ensure they would finish ahead of Beijing Guoan and they did just that. Goals from Wei Shihao, Park Ji-Soo, and Elkeson sealed a convincing victory, powering Guangzhou to the title. They were worthy champions this season, scoring the most goals and conceding the least throughout the year. Standout performers included Paulinho, Talisca, Wei Shihao and Yang Liyu. This match also was a farewell for club legend Zheng Zhi, and he left in style, notching at assist for the opening goal. At age 39, he has made over 200 appearances for the club, after previously playing for Charlton Athletic in England.
Beijing Guoan beat Shandong Luneng 3-2. Beijing Guoan fought back from a 2-0 deficit to claim a dramatic 3-2 victory, in hopes of Guangzhou slipping up on the final day. While the latter did not occur, Beijing finished the season on a strong note. Roger Guedes scored a penalty and Fellaini scored a header at the far post to put Beijing down 2-0 in the 35th minute. Zhang Yuning pulled one back for Beijing, with Renato Augusto claiming an assist. Just before halftime, Bakambu was brought down in the penalty area, and Renato Augusto converted the penalty to level the match at 2-2. Chances were sparse in the second half, before Renato Augusto picked out Wang Ziming in stoppage time, and the Qingdao native slotted home the winner. Celebrations ensued, but fortunately, Beijing would end their season just short of the title.
Shanghai SIPG beat Shenzhen FC 6-0. Marko Arnautovic scored in the 10th minute and the the flood gates opened. Shenzhen were already doomed to relegation and Shanghai seemed to be intent on adding insult to injury. In the 29th minute Arnautovic was bearing down on goal, before he unselfishly squared for Hulk to make it 2-0. At the beginning of the second half, the roles were reversed as Hulk played in Arnautovic for an easy tap in. But the Austrian striker was intent on scoring more. He completed his hat-trick in the 57th minute when Oscar gifted him another tap in, as Shenzhen’s defenders were absolutely terrible during the match. Arnautovic scored his fourth of the match in the 62nd goal, another tap in supplied by Oscar. Oscar then rounded off the destruction of Shenzhen himself, adding a 6th goal in the 74th minute. Shenzhen must undergo a serious rebuild next season in the second division, and questions must be asked about manager Roberto Donadoni’s ability to galvanize his team.
Dalian Yifang beat Beijing Renhe 2-0. Following a humiliating defeat to Tianjin Tianhai last week, Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Yifang finished their season with a victory at home against relegated Beijing Renhe. Salomon Rondon scored along with Yannick Carrasco to add some gloss to mixed first season for Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard was always going to require some time to settle into his new club, in a new country. His first season showed glimpses of the type of football he wants to play, and a full preseason should see Dalian more adept in his tactics next season. Dalian finish the season in 9th place, and will look to build on that in the 2020 season.
Tianjin Teda beat Chongqing Lifan 2-0. Jordi Cruff’s side lost again, this time to Tianjin Teda. Sandro Wagner scored the first to continue his fine form, with a scrappy finish. Cao Yang scored a penalty in the 65th minute, as Tianjin cruised to a simply victory. The result sees Tianjin finish the 7th, which is a decent position considering their negative goal difference. Meanwhile Chongqing finish the season in 10th, in what was a disappointing season for the club.
Jiangsu Suning beat Tianjin Tianhai 2-0. Jiangsu captain Wu Xi scored in the 10th minute, and the Chinese midfielder has enjoyed a really strong season. Xi showed brilliant footwork on the edge of the area before unleashing a powerful strike into the far corner. Tianjin Tianhai goalkeeper Sun Qibin was sent off in the 58th minute, and Alex Teixeira scored a penalty in the 68th minute. The Brazilian has been a standout in the CSL this season, and has been Jiangsu’s main playmaker.
Henan Jianye beat Guangzhou R&F 1-0. Ma Xingyu scored the only goal of the match for Henan, with an assist from Christian Bassogog. Guangzhou has been horrendous defensively this season, conceding a league high 72 goals in 30 matches. If not for Eran Zahavi and his 29 league goals, Guangzhou could’ve faced a relegation battle. Guangzhou’s defense requires a serious overhaul in the off season. Henan finished the season well, as they were unbeaten in their last five matches, comfortably finishing 8th.
Hebei China Fortune beat Wuhan Zall 2-1. Wang Qiuming opened the scoring for Hebei, before Wuhan’s Chang Feiya equalized in the 27th minute. Hebei’s Gong Qiule scored the winner in the 84th minute, pushing Hebei into 11th. Meanwhile, Wuhan finished 6th and have showed solid consistency all season.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
This week’s Pandaily Player of the Week is Shanghai SIPG’s Marko Arnautovic. Arnautovic is the latest high profile signing in the CSL, and expectations for his performances have been high. While the Austrian was an enigmatic striker at West Ham, he has proven he has not lost his scoring touch. Against Shenzhen he was dominant, scoring four goals and one assist in a 6-0 demolition. Going into next season, Shanghai will feel confident that their attacking trio of Oscar, Hulk and Arnautovic will find the chemistry required to challenge for the league title again. Arnautovic also has the talent to shine in the AFC Champions League, and will have the opportunity next season as Shanghai SIPG finished in third, qualifying for next year’s tournament. If Arnautovic can maintain a positive mindset going into next season, he has the potential to be near the top of the league’s scoring charts.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF SEASON:
As the 2019/2020 campaign draws to a close, it is now time to recognize the outstanding performer of the CSL season. This year’s award goes to Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulinho. The Brazilian has been nothing short of brilliant throughout the entire campaign. His powerful runs form midfield combined with an impressive scoring touch has seen Paulinho score 19 goals (only one penalty) and 6 assists. In the high pressure situations towards the end of Guangzhou Evergrande’s title challenge, he rose to the occasion, scoring or assisting in his club’s last four matches. He has inspired his team to reclaim their title, and remains a crowd favorite at the Tianhe Stadium.