Shandong Taishan FC claims domestic double

Society & Culture

Meanwhile: Olympic tickets yet to go on sale with Beijing 2022 less than a month away.

Shandong Taishan finished a season to remember with a Chinese FA Cup championship on Sunday, beating Shanghai Port 1-0. This comes two weeks after Shandong clinched the Chinese Super League (CSL) title for the first time since 2010.

The team, led by former women’s national team coach Hǎo Wěi 郝伟, has been a rare bright spot in Chinese soccer this season, outclassing preseason favorites Guangzhou FC, Shanghai Port, and Beijing Guo’an.

Shandong has been a symbol of stability on and off the pitch. Owned by electrical manufacturing conglomerate Luneng, the club’s owners have been somewhat insulated from the ongoing property and construction crisis that has hit so many clubs in the league, most notably Evergrande’s Guangzhou FC, the league’s most successful team.

On the field, the partnership of forwards Marouane Fellaini and Chinese youngster Guō Tiányǔ 郭田雨, who both had 10 goals this season, have been key to the team’s success. They were supported by the most creative midfield in the league, featuring Liú Bīnbīn 刘彬彬, Qí Tiānyǔ 齐天羽, and Korean Son Jun-ho — all of whom finished in the league’s top 10 in assists.

In league play, Shandong finished with 51 points in 22 games, six points clear of second-place finisher Shanghai Port, and with the joint most goals in the league, as well as conceding the second fewest.

Yesterday, in the FA Cup finals, Shandong proved that it really was the best and most consistent team this year (watch the full game here):

In an edgy game, Shandong was able to snatch an 82nd-minute winner from Brazilian Jadson, who turned in a rebound after captain Zhèng Zhēng’s 郑铮 free kick hit the woodwork. Jadson was named the finals MVP.

Shandong manager Hao Wei with Jadson

Manager Hao Wei, who won the double with Shandong in 1999, credited the whole club for being the driving force behind this season’s success.

“To be honest, the ‘double’ does not belong to me as an individual,” Hao said. “It belongs to the whole team, the players, fans and backroom staff. It’s their contribution that makes us stand here today.

“I really want to thank the support of the fans, the understanding from the players and my family members’ support.”

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Olympic tickets yet to go on sale with Beijing 2022 less than a month away

China has yet to announce the sale of Olympic tickets for Beijing 2022, despite the opening ceremony taking place in 25 days.

Several months ago, China announced that overseas spectators would be banned from attending the Games due to the ongoing pandemic, while promising that spectators residing in China would be able to attend events.

However, with the highly contagious Omicron variant currently spreading through the world, China has delayed any confirmation over ticketing.

A source within the Beijing Organizing Committee said that the government has yet to make any decisions on tickets, with a number of options being considered, including selecting government and Party employees as spectators and bussing them to various events.

China’s response to Omicron has been particularly heavy-handed, with extreme lockdown measures introduced over just a handful of cases, such is the country’s commitment to zero-COVID in the run-up to the Games.

According to our source, if tickets do go on sale, foreign residents in China may find the ticket purchasing arrangements difficult, with a mainland ID required. However, this has yet to be confirmed.

It is also likely that tickets will only be available to Beijing and Hebei residents, with the government keen to avoid people from across China descending onto the capital.

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Could 2022 be the biggest year of sportswashing? (The Guardian)

How Peng Shuai exposed the limits of China’s power (New Statesman)

China’s Sports industry loses 7.2% in value (Sportspro Media)

Omicron inches closer to Beijing ahead of the Olympics (Bloomberg)


The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.