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Pirelli deflates Chinese Super League start

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Apr 2011

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The new season of the Chinese Super League kicked off in uncertain fashion on Friday – without a major sponsor.

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli ditched its contract with the league and national broadcaster China Central Television is refusing to show the matches.

The league has been hit by a series of scandals in recent years.

Several senior officials from the Chinese Football Association have been arrested over match-fixing allegations.

Top referees have been sacked for taking bribes and even players have been tainted by claims of corruption.

The national team has not helped either – years of poor results have seen China drop to 76 in the FIFA rankings.

Highlights of the opening round included home wins for Hangzhou Lucheng and Tianjin Teda.

Defender Marko Zoric scored the only goal in the 34th minute as Teda beat Shenzhen Ruby 1-0.

Hangzhou Lucheng scored a goal in each half in their 2-0 win over Nanchang Bayi.

Uruguayan midfielder Paulo Pezzolano opened the scored in the 12th minute and veteran Honduras midfielder Ramirez made it 2-0 in the 58th minute.

Han Pen gave Shandon Luneng a first minute lead in the 3-3 draw with Chengdu Blades.

Australian midfielder Brendon Santalab equalised in the 11th minute but Wang Yongpo restored Luneng’s lead with a goal on the half-time whistle.

Santalab struck again in the 65th minute but Brazilian striker Obina made it 3-2 to Luneng three minutes later.

Blades ensured a share of the spoils when Australian Adam Kwasnik equalised 11 minutes from time.

Shanghai Shenhua and Qingdao Jonoon also shared the points in a 3-3 draw.

Argentine striker Luis Salmeron scored twice for Shenhua, in the sixth and 48th minutes with Brazilian striker Eber responding for the visitors in the 38th minute.

Leo San made it 2-2 in the 67th minute before Colombia’s Duvier Riascos restored the home side’s lead in the 70th minute.

Zou Zheng earned Jonoon a point with a goal in the last minute.

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