So the weekend just gone was the opening of the 2015 Chinese Super League. With all three Shanghai teams in action and some big debuts expected, it was going to be a big weekend.
In the cities biggest game, Shanghai Shenhua hosted their city rivals from across the Huangpu, Shanghai Shenxin. Shenxin, who have continuously moved around in the past few years, have found a base at Yuanshen Stadium this season, and were looking to build upon a relatively successful mid-table finish last season. That may have to wait until next week though, as they were crushed 6-2 by an impressive Shenhua team. Debutant Tim Cahill failed to get on the scoresheet, but last year’s big signing Paulo Henrique began his season with a well taken hat-trick. Shenxin may take some consolation from the fact that their new signing, Daniel Chima was able to bag a nice finish on his debut.
In the other game involving a Shanghai team, Sven Goran-Ericsson’s SIPG hosted local rivals Jiangsu Sainty. Two goals in the first 15 minutes proved enough to register an early win. Swedish international, Tobias Hysen continued where he left off last season by getting on the scoresheet, with mercurial Argentine, Dario Conca assisting. A big season from those two will be needed if SIPG are really going to mount an assault on the Champions League spot.
For those of you interested in checking out a game this weekend, Sunday is your best bet when two local teams collide at the Yuanshen Stadium in Pudong, when Shenxin will host SIPG. Shenhua meanwhile will head south to face Sven’s old club Guangzhou R&F.
WORDS BY JAMES BUTLER