CSL Preview: Guizhou target top-three spot, Shenxin in form
Guizhou Renhe will bid to breathe fresh life into their pursuit of a place in the AFC Champions League when they travel to Dalian Aerbin.
A run of one win in their last five Chinese Super League games has hampered progress as Guizhou bid to qualify for Asian football's premier club competition for the second successive season.
Guizhou were eligible to compete in this season's tournament by virtue of finishing runners-up to CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the 2012 Chinese FA Cup.
That earned Guizhou their first Champions League appearance in the club's history and they acquitted themselves well under the circumstances, winning one and drawing three of their six games as they exited in the group stages.
Guizhou now have the chance to qualify automatically for the tournament should they secure a top-three finish in the CSL, and they head into this weekend’s fixtures three points behind third-place Beijing Guoan, who are away at second-bottom Changchun Yatai.
Changchun slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Jiangsu Sainty on Sunday, a result further compounded by a Shanghai Shenxin victory by the same scoreline over Guizhou Renhe.
Having picked up four points from a possible six in their last two CSL outings to move clear of the relegation zone, Shenxin’s upsurge in form will be tested at Shandong Luneng, who trail champions and runaway leaders Guangzhou Evergrande by 14 points with eight games remaining.
Marcello Lippi won his managerial duel with Sven Goran-Eriksson last weekend as Guangzhou Evergrande beat city rivals R and F 1-0 to take another step towards the club’s third successive league title.
Next up for the all-conquering Evergrande - who are undefeated in the league after winning 19 of their 22 games - is an away fixture at Tianjin Teda, who are desperate to avoid a third straight league defeat that could see them drop into the bottom two depending on how Changchun fare.
Elsewhere, Guangzhou R and F will attempt to get back to winning ways against Jiangsu Sainty following their derby disappointment, Shanghai Shenhua host bottom side Wuhan Zall, Liaoning Whowin entertain Shanghai SIPG and Qingdao Jonoon head to Hangzhou.