Just months after Shanghai SIPG became just the second team in eight years to claim the Chinese Super League title, Beijing Guo’an sit atop the league, having won their first eight games of the 2019 CSL season, the best start to a season in Chinese Super League history, according to China.org.
On Saturday night, Beijing prevailed over Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao by a one goal margin in Guangzhou. With almost a third of the CSL season in the books already, Guo’an now look to be the favorites to claim the title in what appears to be a turbulent period for the Chinese Super League.
Spaniard Jonathan Viera scored the winning goal for Beijing Guo’an in the 64th minute. It’s the 5th goal of the season for the former Valencia attacking midfielder, who also scored a phenomenal hat-trick against Dalian Yifang in Guo’an’s last league game.
Watch highlights of the game below (VPN off):
Guangzhou Evergrande were seven time as champions of China’s top league, from 2011 until 2017, before Shanghai SIPG overtook them last season. Beijing Guo’an ended the 2018 season in fourth place, but they seem to have made an unexpected leap this year.
Having conceded just two goals through the first eight games of the season, Guo’an are now five points ahead of nearest rivals Shanghai SIPG, whom they have yet to play.
Beijing Guo’an hit headlines in early 2019, after signing two naturalised players, Nico Yennaris (Li Ke) and John Hou Saeter (Hou Yongyong), who were born in England and Norway respectively. Both are born of Chinese parents, and both plied their trade in foreign countries before coming to China and declaring for the Chinese national football team in 2019.
Chinese Super League rules dictate that each team can only have four international players in a match day squad. Beijing Guo'an’s move to naturalise both Yennaris and Hou Saeter saw both ruled as Chinese players by the CSL.
[Cover image via @中国新闻网/Weibo]