2011 Chinese Super League has born a new champion which is newly promoted from first Division, “Guangzhou Evergrande”. They won with a record of 10 wins, 8 draws and 2 loses, lead runner up Beijing Guoan 15 points and won the first CSL champion in team history. In the opening match against Dalian Shide, Guangzhou Evergrande relies on the goal from Brazil forward Cleo, won the competition by of score of 1-0. In the third round against Beijing Guoan, Guangzhou Evergrande scored in injury time. In the ninth round against Changchun Yatai, Guangzhou Evergrande scored in the 44th minutes of second half and draw the score, showed adequately about their ability in the crucial time. They didn’t lose a game until 24th round against Changchun Yatai where they lost by 1-2, in the 26th rounds away game against Shanxi Renhe, where they won by 4:1. Gungzhou won the champion 4 rounds ahead of schedule.
The reason for Guangzhou to win is their substantial strength. Forward Muriqui was suspended for five games during the season, but still won the MVP and scoring title of the league with 16th goals and 7 assists. Before the season started, Chinese national team player Feng Xiao Ting; Zhang Linpeng join the Guangzhou, teamed up with core Zheng zhi and Gao Lin formed mighty lineup. In July, Guangzhou gave Dario Conca from Argentina 7 million dollars a year and was a record in Chinese Football history. The 2010 Brazilian football MVP scored ninth goals after he joined the club. Strong attacking power lineup makes Guangzhou scored 18 more goals than the second place Beijing Guoan, with an amazing explosiveness, they won the League Champion in the first season after promoted to CSL.
2009 CSL Champion Beijing Guoan is the runner-up with 14 wins, 11 draws and 5 loses. With full attendance, Goal Keeper Yang Zhi, full back Zhou Ting and Xu Yunlong who entered Guoan since 1998 formed the excellent defense line and limited the goal number to the fewest. The third is Liaoning HongYun, who was the Club Championship winner in 1990. The 24 year old Yu Hanchao’s scored twelve goals, was the most in Chinese players. Jiangsu Sainty, who was prompted to CSL three years ago, got their best result with fourth place. 2010 league champion, Shandong Luneng got the fifth place with a record of 13 wins, 8 draws and 9 lose. Shanghai Shenhua, who has 2010 MVP and scoring champion Colombian Duvier Riascos was 11th place. Former Japanese Head Coach Philippe Troussier’s new team Shenzhen Ruby struggled in the first six rounds without a single victory, didn’t came out of the lowly state, finished last in 2011 season.
Same with CSL, J-League champion is newly promoted Kashiwa Reysol. Head coach Nelsinho Baptista expressed, since Baptista started coaching Kashiwa Reysol two years, the teams goal was to won the league. It is easy to say, but full of challenges through the way. Only with the hard work of players, Kashiwa Reysol’s first champion was accomplished. Kashiwa Reysol tries to open up lead with other teams along the way, but in 21st round, fall behind to the fourth place. In the second half of the season’s game against 2010 Champion Nagoya Grampus and runner-up Gamba Osaka, Kashiwa Reysol overpowered the opponent with a record of 6 wins and 1 draws in seven rounds.
Showed quality in dribbling, passing and shooting, the heart of the team Leandro Domingues got the MVP award with 15 goals. The midfielder Jorge Wagner also has 11 assists. Those two Brazilian players plus Sakai Hiroki who breached the gate of South American Champion Santos formed the core of Kashiwa Reysol. In addition, the team has the thirty-three year old veteran Kitajima Hideaki, the Japanese national team player Tanaka Junya, and Sawa Masakatsu who scored the winning goal against Nagoya. In the last round against Urawa Reds, only a victory can seal the champion, in this crucial game, Hashimoto Wataru and Barada Akimi each score one goal and contributed to the 3:1 victory. This team can bear a new hero every night, and in 2011 they showcased their strength to the world.
The goal was to win the champion for Nagoya Grampus before the season started. However, they only won one game in the first five rounds, uncounted the unexpected downturn. Only after the round 13th, they had a record of 16 rounds without lose and made them a contending team for the champion. In the last six games, although Nagoya Grampus won them all, still fell short of one point to Kashiwa Reysol, received the runner-up. Gamba Osaka sent their new potential star Usami Takashi to Bayern Munchen, affects the team’s chemistry a little bit. They still has the national team players, Endo Yasuhito and Futagawa Takahiro such excellent players executive attacking football. In the whole season, there is only one game which Gamba Osaka didn’t score. Although Gamba Osaka showed their attacking power through out, but still fell short to Kashiwa Reysol and Nagoya Grampus with two points and received the third place.
Located in the heave hit earthquake area, Vegalta Sendai used their splendid performance gave local residents courage. The first game after the earthquake, play against Kawasaki Frontale, Kamata Jiro scored the wining goal for Vegalta Sendai in 42nd minutes of second half, final score 2:1. The team also had a streak where they didn’t lose a single game in the first 12 rounds, finished with 4th place, much improved from last year’s 12th place. Their performance gives confidence to the local residents of rebuilding their homes.
In Korea Rep.’s K-League, the runner-up of AFC Champions League “Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors” became Champion once more after two years of waiting. Lee Dong Gook became the MVP after scoring 16 goals and dish out 15 assists. In March, Lee Dong Gook became the first man in K-League history to score 100 goals. He and Cho Sung Hwan; Park Won Jea; Choi Chul Soon and Enio Oliveira Junior all been selected to the season best team, provide a spark for the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors has a record of 18 wins, 9 draws and 3 loses in the regular season. In the playoff, where top six teams face each other, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors has consecutive victories against Ulsan Hyundai Horangi. In the first game Enio Oliveira Junior scored two goals and helped Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors win with a score of 2:1. In the first half of second game, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors missed the penalty and Ulsan Hyundai Horangi scored first in the second half. However, in the 15th minute of second half, Enio Oliveira Junior use penalty to tie the score for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, in the 24th minutes Luiz Henrique Da Silva use his powerful right foot strike to seal the match. 2:1, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors reverse the score and became the winner. Head Coach Choi Kang Hee was interviewed after the game. He indicates it was his men’s determination helped them to win. After two years of waiting, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors became the champion once again, the team is ready to become the big club in K-League. The mission for the head coach is the same with players, which is to keep the team’s strong performance going until next year or even the year after, keep the lead in the leafue. (Cited from KFA interview)
Ulsan Hyundai Horangi was sixth place in the regular season with a record of 13 wins, 7 draws and 10 lose. But they had an amazing performance in the playoffs, where they beat the third place FC Seoul, then conquered Suwon Samsung Bluewings. In the later game against Pohang Steelers, Ulsan Hyundai Horangi used a penalty to beat them. Although Ulsan Hyundai Horangi lost in the final, but two of their players were selected to the season best team, also they played amazingly well in playoffs, provide with a bright color to the league.
2010 K-League Champion FC Seoul’s forward Dejan Damjanovic was the top shooter of the league with 24 goals. Though FC Seoul has fantastic offence, but their turnovers ruined their overall performance and they finished third in the regular season. Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who has national team’s goal keeper Jung Sung Ryong and mid-fielder Lee Yong Rea finished fourth. In addition, Jeju United FC finished at 9th, Daejeon Citizen who had a great performance in the beginning of the season, eventually finished at 15th.
In 2011 season, the arising power attracts a lot of attention. In 2012 season, can we see the new leaps? Or the traditional teams stage a comeback? AFC Champions League, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors went into the final, while Kashiwa Reysol went into the final four of FIFA Club World Cup presented by Toyota. East-Asia clubs are showing their strength to the world. The new season is full of excitement.