“Not in Shanghai” — that is Shenhua FC’s message to rivals Dalian Shide who could be crowned China Super League champions at Hong Kou stadium on Sunday.
After drawing their last two matches, Shenhua have fallen 11 points behind the Liaoning side, and with just four games left, anything less than a victory for the Shanghai team will see Dalian lift the title for a record eighth time. Realistically, the title is as good as won but no fans want to see another team party on their patch and Shenhua’s Blue Devils are no different.
It’s not all over till the fat lady sings however, and it’s theoretically possible that Dalian suffer a calamitous end to the season, squander their 11-point lead and Shenhua win their last four remaining games and snatch the title. In all honestly though, as much as Shanghaiist wants to see the Chinese soccer title come to the city, such a scenario would probably not be in the best interests of Chinese football. It’s so unlikely to happen that, if it did, the bribery and match-fixing allegations, which have afflicted the Chinese game so much in the past, would fly like there was no tomorrow and probably destroy the credibility of the sport here once and for all.
So although the title race is effectively over, Shanghaiist is keen to see Shenhua defend the city’s pride by pooping Dalian’s party and making the northerners clinch their title elsewhere.
The match kicks off at 15.30 on Sunday for what is sure to be a hotly-contested game.
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