15 of 16 goals were scored by foreign imports in the seven games of the first round of Chinese Super League (CSL), with only one match slated for March 16 between Beijing Guoan and Tianjin Teda.
The eye-catching signings attracted worldwide attentions to the CSL and thrilled local soccer fans as well. According to the box office, the total attendance reached 180,000 for the seven games of the first round.
Several big-money imports paid off immediately. The 50-million-euro Alex Teixeira scored twice to help Jiangsu Suning beat Shandong Luneng 3-0 last Saturday. His compatriot Ramires Santos do Nascimento, who cost Jiangsu another 28 million euros, opened the scoring.
Moreover, the duo lifted the Jiangsu team to a new level. Ramires’ superb running and tackling abilities strengthened the Jiangsu defense and let free midfielder Wu Xi’s organizing potential.
For the newly-promoted Hebei China Fortune, Gervinho proved his worth of 18 million euros transfer fee with the winning goal in the team’s 2-1 stun over Guangzhou R&F last Friday.
On the other hand, some cost-efficient imports are able to bring back victory for the clubs as well. As the team’s first strong defensive barrier, Cameroonian defensive midfielder Stephane Mbia meant a lot to Hebei. Mbia contributed three key intercepts, which led to the victory in the team’s first ever appearance in the top flight league.
Chongqing Lifan’s forward Fernando Henrique da Conceicao stunned the defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande twice with his fast breaks, which led to the 2-1 victory.
The 22-year-old Brazilian overshadowed the 42-million-euro striker Jackson Martinez’ first goal for Guangzhou Evergrande.
Liaoning Whowin beat Shijiazhuang Ever Bright on Sunday as the former SV Werder Bremen centreback Assani Lukimya-Mulongoti netted a free-kick in the 72nd minute.
Assani also showed his brilliant defending skills with 10 clearances and two intercepts.
After seven matches, the big spender Jiangsu Suning topped the CSL table due to better goal difference. Fernando from Chongqing and Alex Teixeira from Jiangsu tied for the top spot of scorers’ list with two goals apiece.
The second round of the CSL will start next Friday and more goals from foreign imports are anticipated.