Comedy own goal, stroppy striker and open nets missed in another weekend of the best and worst of the Chinese Super League

Yi Teng and Huang Zhengyu combine for shocker before Eran Zahavi snubs manager Dragan Stojkovic while Talisca inspires Evergrande again

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 September, 2018, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 September, 2018, 12:24pm

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The Chinese Super League threw up another weekend of Dickensian drama as all of the on-pitch reasons to watch the top flight, good and bad, were on show in games that had an effect at both ends of the table.

An embarrassing own goal, a striker shunning a handshake on being subbed and plenty of wayward finishing were the worst of it – and that was just in Sunday evening’s match.

Guangzhou R&F hosted Chongqing Lifan at Yuexiushan Stadium and its gold seats were not the only thing that was out of place.

An own goal that will long be memorialised on YouTube compilations and football gaffe DVDs in Christmas stockings opened the scoring for the visitors.

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Huang Zhengyu will go down as the scorer but he didn’t know too much about it.

An intended clearance from teammate Yi Teng cannoned in off his midriff as he turned away.

The hosts laboured to an equaliser from Xiao Zhi ten minutes later but they could and should have scored more.

Last season’s CSL top scorer Eran Zahavi cut a frustrated figure on his return from injury and he shrugged off the hand of former Yugoslavia striker Dragan Stojkovic.

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Maybe he just wanted to get to the players’ lounge to see his former Maccabi Tel Aviv sporting director Jordi Cruyff, the Chongqing Lifan boss.

It’s nice that the CSL now has its own handshake controversy to put it up on the same pedestal as the English Premier League.

But even if you come for the comedy goals, shocking misses or strops, there’s quality in the Chinese Super League.

Chief among the players raising their game is Anderson Talisca, who plays across the city with Guangzhou Evergrande.

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The Brazilian kept the champions’ hopes of an eighth title alive on Saturday night when they travelled to Jiangsu Suning.

But they made hard work of it.

Eder opened the scoring in the first minute, with the lead extended to two seven minutes later by Li Ang.

Talisca hit two after Paulinho pulled one back and the comeback was complete with 12 minutes to go.

Anderson Talisca now has a barely believable 14 goals since arriving in China this summer.

He has scored them all in eight games, finishing goalless in his other four appearances.

Only three players – Wu Lei (21 goals in 22 games), Eran Zahavi (17 goals in 21 games) and Odion Ighalo (17 goal in 23 games) have scored more than him and they have all played at least nine more games.

It’s incredible to think that Talisca could yet outscore favourite Wu Lei for the golden boot in just half a season.

This was also the fifth game where both he and Paulinho have scored and they have won all of them.

If Talisca is using Evergrande as a stepping stone for a return to Europe then it would pay to catch him while you can as he conducts his own personal goal of the season campaign.

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The champions are still four points off their usual view from the top. Shanghai SIPG remain ahead of them in the standings after having another home win, this time over Changchun Yatai.

The only shock was that Wu Lei did not add to his 21 league goals before being subbed off.

It looks like it will be one of those two teams for the title now as Beijing Guoan’s title tilt has gone slightly further off the rails with a 3-2 defeat at bottom club Guizhou Zhicheng in a game they dominated.

The loss also saw them lose Yu Dabao to a red card, which won’t help their chances of getting back on track but they have an immediate opportunity.

They are now off the pace by seven points but they do have the chance to claw back three of those in next weekend’s game at Workers’ Stadium when SIPG travel to the capital.

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Before that Guoan face R&F in Guangzhou in the Chinese FA Cup semi-final second leg.

They lead 5-1 from the first leg and will be able to rest players ahead of the league clash on Saturday night.

By that point they will be presumably a step closer to silverware, something that neither Evergrande nor SIPG can say as their only shot at a trophy still has seven games to run.

Guoan will face either Shandong Luneng or Dalian Yifang in the two-legged final.

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The hosts have a 1-0 lead from the first leg but Tuesday’s visitors Dalian are on a great run of five games unbeaten in the league and with Nyasha Mushekwi among the goals including a brace this weekend in a 2-1 league win over cup holders Shanghai Shenhua.

Fourth placed Shandong prepared with a 4-1 win away at Henan Jianye.