Asia’s record signing Alex Teixeira struck twice on his debut as big-spending Jiangsu Suning got their Chinese Super League (CSL) campaign off to a flying start with a 3-0 victory over Shandong Luneng.
The first round of this year’s CSL attracted global attention after a huge transfer spree by cashed-up Chinese clubs, with €50 million (Dh200m) capture Teixeira firmly under the microscope.
But the striker, who was lured from Shakhtar Donetsk from under the noses of Liverpool, lived up to the hype by firing home in the 66th and 85th minutes.
That was after fellow Brazilian Ramires, who cost €28 million from Chelsea in January, had opened the scoring just three minutes into the new season watched by 48,795 fans at Nanjing Olympic Sports stadium.
Given the focus on imported talent, it was notable that all 16 goals on the opening weekend were scored by overseas players.
Former Atletico Madrid striker Jackson Martinez also netted on his Guangzhou Evergrande league debut but the €42 million signing couldn’t stop the reigning champions slumping to a shock 2-1 defeat to Chongqing Lifan.
The Colombian scored with a 52nd-minute header but a double from Brazilian marksman Fernandinho gave Chongqing their first ever win over Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Asian title-holders, watched by a crowd of 48,855.
Elsewhere there were more surprises as Sven Goran-Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG also fell at the first hurdle with a 1-0 away defeat to unfashionable Henan Jianye.
In northern China, the league’s newcomers and other big-spenders Hebei China Fortune started in style despite being reduced to 10 men for half the match as €18 million signing Gervinho and Ersan Gulum scored in a 2-1 win over Guangzhou R&F.
Hebei were already 2-1 up when midfielder Luo Senwen received his marching orders for a second yellow in the 43rd minute but they held out to take the three points.
“We don’t deserve to lose the game, but it’s football,” Guangzhou R&F’s head coach Dragan Stojkovic told Xinhua after the match.
In Shanghai, former Chelsea and Newcastle striker Demba Ba scored from the spot as Shanghai Shenhua drew 1-1 with newly-promoted Yanbian Fude.
Australia’s record goal-scorer Tim Cahill, who departed Shenhua in the close season, was quickly off the mark on his debut for Hangzhou Greentown, slotting home a 21st-minute penalty in the 2-1 victory over Changchun Yatai.
Chinese clubs have invested heavily in overseas players, inspired by a push headed by President Xi Jinping to turn China into a footballing power.
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