Chinese Super League

Stamp on Tianjin Quanjian’s Axel Witsel by Shanghai Shenhua’s Qin Sheng casts shadow over Chinese Super League

Midfielder fined ¥300,000 (HK$336,780) and forced to train with reserves with coach Gus Poyet calling the incident in Saturday’s 1-1 draw “unnecessary”

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 10:46pm

Chinese football claimed global headlines again this weekend, but this time for the wrong reasons as a stamp by Shanghai Shenhua midfielder Qin Sheng on Tianjin Quanjian’s Belgium international Axel Witsel during Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the Super League cast a shadow over the new domestic season.

Former Jiangsu Suning, Guangzhou Evergrande and Liaoning Whowin midfielder Qin was shown a straight red card after just 24 minutes of Shenhua’s second match of the 2017 season after blatantly treading on the foot of Tianjin’s new signing as they jostled for position inside the penalty area while waiting for a Carlos Tevez corner.

Qin has been fined ¥300,000 (HK$336,780) by Shenhua and will be forced to train with reserves after the action in a game which was broadcast live around the world, including on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, with coach Gus Poyet saying “unnecessary is the right word to describe this foul.”

“Qin Sheng is asked to make a public apology in front of the whole team and he will report to the reserve team and train with them from today,” said a Shenhua club statement.

“According to the disciplines and rules of Shenhua for 2017, he will be fined ¥300,000, and if he gets another red card, the sum will be doubled and so on.

“Taking his attitude and future behaviour into consideration, the club will cut his salary to a certain extent.”

Hong Kong’s Festus Baise scores as Guizhou Zhicheng earn Chinese Super League draw with Beijing Guoan

Witsel later netted the 85th minute equaliser for Fabio Cannavaro’s visitors, who almost snatched all three points as Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato missed a penalty with two minutes remaining, after Colombian Giovanni Moreno had handed Shenhua a 75th minute lead at Hongkou Stadium.

“Excellent game, stupid foul ... my personal behaviour affected the result of the whole team and I want to say sorry to all Shenhua supporters, to the club management, to the coaching staff,and to these teammates who fight with me,” said Qin, who was booked 11 times in the Super League last season, on Weibo.

Watch: Shanghai Shenhua 1 Tianjin Quanjian 1 highlights

“As a professional player I shouldn’t have made this kind of foul to take a revenge. I respect the referees decision as my behaviour not only harmed the opponent, but also affected my teammates’ mood ... I will take this lesson and never do it again, and as a man, I will take all the responsibility by myself.”

The draw allowed Shenhua to extend their unbeaten start to the new season after beating Jiangsu Suning 4-0 in their season opener.

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“I want to thank my players. They compensated for the absence of Qin Sheng by sticking together,” added Poyet.

“As a coach, I can get many conclusions after a match like this. It will take at least half an hour for me to analyse this match to you because lots of things happened during the game.

“We were very tenacious, we fought hard against them with one man down. Although we didn’t win the match, I was still satisfied to get a draw. I hope that at the end of the season this one point could help us to have a good ranking.”

The draw, meanwhile, handed Fabio Cannavaro’s 2017 League One champions Tianjin a first point of the new season after losing 2-0 to Guangzhou R&F on their top flight debut.

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“It wasn’t easy for the referee as the game was very intense. He had a lot of pressure and you need a very cool head to make decisions. He did quite a good job,” said Cannavaro.

Also on Saturday, Hong Kong international Festus Baise scored as top-flight newcomers Guizhou Zhicheng shared a 1-1 draw with Beijing Guoan, while meeting between Chongqing Lifan and Hebei CFFC on Saturday also ended in a 1-1 draw.

Watch: Guizhou Zhicheng 1 Beijing Guoan 1

Watch: Chongqing Lifan 1 Hebei CFFC 1