The 2021 Chinese Super League season kicked off on Tuesday night in Guangzhou where 30,000 fans packed in to watch the local derby, the biggest crowd in China since 2019. This season is still being played in two bubbles, with eight teams based in Guangzhou and eight in Suzhou for the first round, which ends on May 17. The Guangzhou bubble features both Guangzhou FC (formerly Guangzhou Evergrande until the new name change policy ) and Guangzhou City (formerly Guangzhou R&F), with the local rivals meeting in the season opener. Before the match, the CSL trophy was flown into the stadium on a drone in the absence of last season’s champions Jiangsu FC (formerly Jiangsu Suning) who pulled out of the league in the close season. The atmosphere in Tianhe Stadium when Guangzhou City made the 1:1 equalizer: around 30,000 tickets were sold for the Guangzhou derby. The first time over 10, 000 spectators attend a football match in China since the Covid-19 outbreak. pic.twitter.com/dq23IP0w2W — Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) April 20, 2021 Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou FC finished runners-up to Jiangsu in December’s two-legged final. Up to 30,000 fans mixed in the stands, with social distancing measures kept to a minimum. Chinese Super League 2021 season preview: new names, same old CSL Fans of other clubs have questioned why the Guangzhou teams get to play what are effectively home games inside the bubble. The derby at Guangzhou FC’s Tianhe Stadium finished 2-2. Alan Carvalho opened the scoring for the hosts after seven minutes before an own goal by Yan Dinghao levelled the scores soon afterwards. The CSL trophy is taken to the Tianhe Stadium through a drone. As Jiangsu FC(Suning), the reigning champion, who are supposed to present the trophy, 'ceased operation', the lady takes the role to hand the trophy to Sun Jianyi, a senior director of Ping An, the CSL title sponsor. pic.twitter.com/QWuec67Ewz — Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) April 20, 2021 Guangzhou FC’s China striker Elkeson had a penalty saved by Han Jiaqi just before half-time and it was level at the break. City took the lead early in the second half through Ye Chugui before a late leveller from Wu Shaocong ensured honours were even. In the other group, Shandong Taishan (formerly Shandong Luneng) beat Chongqing Lianjiang Athletic (formerly Chongqing Dangdai Lifan). Just before the halftime, Guangzhou FC gained a penalty but Elkeson missed it! A big save from Han Jiaqi, Guangzhou city's young goalie. Still 1:1 for the Guangzhou derby pic.twitter.com/H28GnPoWwb — Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) April 20, 2021 New signing Leonardo opened the scoring in the second half after coming off the bench. Guo Tianyu added a second to secure the points for last season’s Chinese FA Cup winners.