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Du Wei introduces Hangzhou Greentown to the joys of clean sheets

As was pointed out in GGW posts of March this year Du Wei, captain of China’s East Asian Championship winning team, has re-established himself as a highly rated international player. On the back of this success he became the key pre-season signing for  Greentown,  the green and white wearing club from the beautiful Chinese city of Hangzhou. (see Chinese Torture Parts One and Two)

At last, after 6 games of the new Chinese Super League season, with a  well- marshalled  defence ensuring a clean sheet for the second successive game, Hangzhou Greentown managed to obtain their first victory. The first 5 games had seen two home draws surrounded by three away defeats, leaving Hangzhou anchored to the bottom of the table with just 2 points. Their 6th game was another away one, meaning 4 trips on the road in their first half dozen games. They travelled to Chongqing to take on local side Lifan.

1-0 up at halftime with a goal from Luis Ramirez,  Hangzhou never looked like losing and although they did not score again the Greentown team ended up comfortable winners. The three points gained from this first victory still left them at the bottom of the table but this time as one of a group of 4 clubs on 5 points.

The ultra modern Hangzhou Stadium where Du Wei plies his trade

With two of the next three games at their modern new stadium where they are unbeaten this season, hopefully they can begin the climb out of the relegation places into the mid table safety that realistically should be the height of their ambition this season. With no less than 5 teams on 7 points and 1 on 6 points, a couple more wins  should bring them to relative safety.

Of the three Hondurans signed just before the season started two, the internationalists  centre back cum defensive midfielder  Sabillon and experienced forward Luis Ramirez have quickly become established first team regulars. Wilson Palacios’s older brother Jerry is finding it harder to settle in and has been on the bench for most of the games. The coach Wu Jingui is optimistic that his team can consolidate themselves in the Super League and avoid another relegation like last season when they only survived due to the forced relegation for corruption of two clubs that finished above them.

GGW will continue report regularly on the progress of this green and white clad Chinese club under the determined leadership of Du Wei.

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St Pauli sweeten the bitter pill

On a weekend made miserable for Celtic supporters by Rangers finally confirming the inevitable and winning the Scottish Premier League, the two favourite European teams  of Celtic supporters  did their bit to provide some cheer and consolation to broken hearted Tims across the world.

Almost there. St Pauli celebrate

Last week GGW editor Sandy Jamieson had suggested that St Pauli players were maybe being affected by nerves as they came close to the automatic promotion finishing line as evidenced by their dismal 2-1 away defeat to Union in Berlin. On Friday night the players, who had vigorously denied all allegations of nerves, gave the perfect riposte. They slammed 6 goals past hapless Koblenz to ensure a comfortable victory.  They even were able to miss a penalty early on before confirming their superiority with two quick goals just before half-time.

The St Pauli scorers were Charle s Takyi with 2, Deniz Naki, Marius Ebbers, substitute forward Hennings and finally  Matias Lehmann making amends for his earlier penalty miss with a successful conversion of a second in the 75th minute. At 6-0 up they relaxed and allowed already relegated Koblenz to steal a consolation goal.

Star man Takyi in action

Star man of the match was Charles Takyi. In interviews with the local press after the game he was ecstatic, saying the team had not yet given up on overtaking Kaiserlautern for the title and were definitely steaming full tilt ahead for the automatic second promotion place. He was aware that the odds of them at least getting the third play-off spot for promotion were now over 99%, but he made it clear the team expected to clinch promotion the easier automatic way.

My German is not very good and in checking out the interviews which of course took place in German I encountered a nautical rather than football reference. All season there has been doubt about Takyi’s exact position in the team as he has flitted between attacking midfielder and second support forward to lone striker Marius Ebbers. What he said in German in his interview was “I link up best with Ebbers, playing just behind him.” What the automatic translation machinery gave him as saying in English was “I am in perfect harmony with the low tide”. But anyway, his performance was an exercise in perfect harmony and the Ebb tide flowed in St Pauli’s favour. When Augsburg then only drew away to relegation threatened Frankfurt, those two results meant St Pauli ended the 32nd Round three points ahead and with a superior goal difference of 14 goals more. So one more win in their last two games will seal their place in the Bundesliga even if Augsburg win their last two games. What a perfect way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this unique club. Celtic fans going to Hamburg for the Centenary match against the Bhoys in Brown on May 18th should find the now almost inevitable promotion party will still likely be in full flow. GGW is getting more desperate for some prospective traveller to agree to report on these Centenary celebrations for GGW. Don’t be shy, please volunteer so those of us unable to go will get a full and pictorial account of what should be one of the parties of the Century.

The next post will reveal why Villarreal are sleeping deeper in Europe after a weekend when they closed the gap on the Champions League slot with a 2-1 away win over Racing Santander

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    GreenGreenWorld is a football blog produced by SISIF, (the Sherbrooke Institute for the Study of International Football). The SISIF Director, Sandy Jamieson, has been an active student of world football for over 40 years and has an extensive network of information, knowledge and contacts in Europe, South America and the rest of the football world. Although SISIF is based in Glasgow, Sandy currently spends most time at his home in Spain where he is finishing a book about Villarreal, “The Yellow Submarine”. He is a writer/consultant and his previously published novels “Own Goal” and “The Great Escape?” are available from Ringwood Publishing or Amazon. Mainstream published his previous book on Scottish football.
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