Preview: Qingdao Jonoon vs. Shanghai Shenhua

Preview: Qingdao Jonoon vs. Shanghai Shenhua

Aiming to climb back into the top two in the Chinese Super League, Shanghai Shenhua will travel to take on Qingdao Jonoon on Thursday.

After a dip in form, the visitors made a return to winning ways away at Cangzhou Mighty Lions last time out, while their hosts dropped to 15th spot with a third straight defeat on Sunday.

After winning promotion from the second tier last season, Qingdao Jonoon have experienced a tough start to life back in the Chinese Super League, currently finding themselves in the relegation zone after 11 rounds of fixtures.

In those games, the Sea Bull have managed eight points and two wins, with the more recent of their triumphs coming against Meizhou Hakka in mid-May as Zhang Wei and Chunxin Chen hit unanswered goals, but they have since added just one more point to their tally in four further attempts.

The three-point haul was followed by a meeting with Zhejiang Professional, and they eventually had to settle for a 2-2 draw despite being in a strong position through a Bo Zhao own goal and a Zhang Wei finish, with Antonio Carreno’s side now coming into Thursday’s contest on the back of three straight defeats.

Following a 1-0 beating away at Changchun Yatai, the Sea Bull lost by the same scoreline at home to Shandong Taishan, before most recently visiting Nantong Zhiyun on Sunday and looking set to come away with a point from a goalless stalemate, only to again fall by a single goal as Song Wang popped up with a winner for the hosts in injury time.

On the back of another league defeat, Qingdao Jonoon have now dropped to 15th spot in the Chinese top flight, but still with just a three-point gap up to 10th place at this early stage of the campaign, they will be keen to put the tough start behind them and get their season up and running with a run of improved results.

They face a particularly tough test, though, as Shanghai Shenhua travel with the aim of narrowing the gap to top spot after scoring an important victory last time out.

Following a 10th-placed finish last season, the Flower of Shanghai enjoyed an eye-catching start to the new term, winning four of their opening five Chinese Super League matches and drawing the other, immediately putting themselves at the summit of the division as a result.

They were unable to continue that fast start, though, playing out consecutive 1-1 draws in the next two games at home to Wuhan Three Towns and Beijing Guoan, before suffering a first league defeat of the campaign away at Chengdu Rongcheng, as Elkeson decided the contest with an 87th-minute penalty after it looked set to end in a third straight 1-1 draw thanks to Cephas Malele’s first-half equaliser.

Aiming to bounce back from that disappointment and keep themselves in the top two, Wu Jingui’s side then hosted Henan and looked set to again fall short with Nemanja Covic’s goal the only difference heading into the final 10 minutes, only to rescue a point through Shenglong Jiang, before most recently taking on Cangzhou Mighty Lions on Sunday in their attempt to end the four-match wait for another victory.

That game remained goalless for 75 minutes, but Haijian Wang eventually opened the scoring for the Flower of Shanghai and they held on for three crucial points, with their sights now set back on second-placed Chengdu Rongcheng and first-placed Shanghai Port who are just one and four points better off respectively.

Qingdao Jonoon Chinese Super League form:

Shanghai Shenhua Chinese Super League form:

We say: Qingdao Jonoon 1-2 Shanghai Shenhua
Shanghai Shenhua should have regained a degree of confidence with their much-needed win last time out, while their hosts are devoid of any momentum having struggled since climbing to the top flight, and we see the visitors being too strong and coming away with all three points.

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