Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao are the team of the decade in the People’s Republic of China. They are a true dynasty, one steeped in tradition and success at the highest level since 2011. This year, Guangzhou has won its sixth Chinese Super League title, its sixth straight, to go with its second Chinese FA Cup and second Chinese FA Super Cup for a unique calendar treble of trophies. And with this, Guangzhou have now reached 10 major trophies throughout their history, dating all the way back to 1954.
Jiangsu Suning, under Choi Yong-soo, had been chasing Guangzhou for quite some time. They would finish second best in the Chinese FA Cup, losing on away goals 2-1 after a 3-3 draw over two legs. And they would only finish with a 17-6-7 record (57 points), seven points behind Evergrande, who didn’t necessarily wrap up the title in a canter, winning two of their last five matches. Trent Sainsbury took the fall for Jiangsu in the Chinese FA Cup Final, missing a key penalty that helped secure a historic treble for Evergrande.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao (C)||30||19||7||4||62||19||+43||64||Qualification to Champions League group stage|
|3||Shanghai SIPG||30||14||10||6||56||32||+24||52||Qualification to Champions League play-off round|
|4||Shanghai Greenland Shenhua||30||12||12||6||46||31||+15||48|
|7||Hebei China Fortune||30||11||7||12||34||38||−4||40|
|14||Shandong Luneng Taishan||30||9||7||14||38||45||−7||34|
|15||Hangzhou Greentown (R)||30||8||8||14||28||37||−9||32||Relegation to League One|
|16||Shijiazhuang Ever Bright (R)||30||7||9||14||28||53||−25||30|
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Head-to-head points; 3) Head-to-head goal difference; 4) Head-to-head goals scored; 5) Reserve league points; 6) Goal difference; 7) Goals scored; 8) Disciplinary points (1 point for each yellow card, 3 points for each red card)
(C) Champion; (R) Relegated.
In fact, the only teams that really hit their form late in the 2016 CSL season were Shanghai SIPG, winning their last three games, and Changchun Yatai, who won their last four to avoid relegation. Hangzhou Greentown and Shijiazhuang Ever Bright were relegated on 32 points (8-8-14) and 30 points (7-9-14), respectively. Taking their place will be Tianjin Quanjian and Guizhou Zhicheng of China League One with identical 18-5-7 record (59 points), better than Qingdao Huanghai, who also had 59 points but who lost out on inferior goal differential.
Ricardo Goulart won the Golden Boot with 19 goals on the year, while Zeng Cheng was awarded Best Goalkeeper with 10 clean sheets. In addition to Evergrande returning to the AFC Champions League next year, Jiangsu, SIPG, and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua will be taking part in Asia’s regional club competition in 2017.
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