Group B of the 2021 Chinese Super League kicked off in Suzhou this week, following on from Group A’s opening matches in the Guangzhou bubble.
The second set of matches provided plenty of goals and interesting results, maintaining the excitement established by the opening of Group A earlier in the week.
Dalian Professional 1-2 Changchun Yatai
Just like Group A, Group B kicked things off with a derby, pitting two dongbei clubs against each other with some serious personal ramifications behind it.
Recent China League One champions Changchun Yatai claimed revenge on the club that relegated them two seasons earlier, with their strong offensive setup able to overpower a Dalian side lacking import players, outside of Marcus Danielson.
Goals from Brazilian forwards Júnior Negrão and Erik Lima ensured Chen Yang’s side claimed all three points on their return to the Chinese top tier, seeing the vastly altered Dalian side seeking answers.
Tianjin Jinmen Tiger 1-6 Shanghai Port
A result that surprised virtually no one, Shanghai Port put six past the newly named Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, following on from an off-season where the latter almost ceased to exist and had their first-team squad greatly changed due to departures.
Shanghai Port demonstrated their quality throughout the match, with Marko Arnautović bagging himself a hat trick, Ricardo Lopes adding a brace and Tianjin only scoring a consolation goal through Jules Iloki in the 94th minute of the match.
Results such as this could become the norm this season with Tianjin a shadow of their former self, with some tough teams in Group B eager to pile on the disappointment and climb the league standings.
Hebei FC 1-1 Wuhan FC
The only draw of the entire first week of Chinese Super League action came in the match between Hebei and Wuhan, with everything about the match suggesting ‘stalemate’.
Both sides were fairly even in terms of chances and shots on target, as well as possession, passes completed and pass accuracy, with virtually nothing separating the two.
Hebei took the lead in the 47th minute through a Yin Hongbo goal, but Jean Evrard Kouassi ensured Wuhan took at least a point with his equaliser 12 minutes later.
Shanghai Shenhua 2-1 Beijing Guoan
Arguably the biggest fixture of Group B’s opening week, two teams that were not forced to change their names this off-season battled it out and saw a fairly surprising result overall.
Beijing dominated possession, but the blue half of Shanghai did the most when they had the ball, with 15 shots (7 on target) and two goals that ultimately sealed their victory.
Shenhua came close to securing a clean sheet in their opening match of the season, with Giovanni Moreno and former Jiangsu FC captain Wu Xi netting in the 59th and 65th minute respectively, if only for a Li Lei consolation in the 91st minute of play.
With Beijing finishing 3rd in 2020, getting points on the board early was a key target for the Imperial Guard, but the Slaven Bilić-managed side left the stadium with nothing.
A stronger showing will need to be made in their next match, which pits them against Shanghai Port on Wednesday (28th April).