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Win long time coming for Wu

By TANG ZHE | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-08 23:55

Star striker leads Shanghai East Asia to first Super League victory

Win long time coming for Wu

Wu Lei of Shanghai East Asia tries to pass the ball during a 2-1 victory over Changchun Yatai on Sunday. Provided to China Daily

This one was especially special for Wu Lei.

Chinese Super League newcomer Shanghai East Asia earned its first win in the league, beating Changchun Yatai 2-0 at home on Sunday.

The win was particularly meaningful for hometown star Wu. On April 7, 2003, he was sent to club president Xu Genbao's soccer training base. Ten years later - to the day - the 21-year-old scored a beautiful goal, putting himself in position to eventually join the national team.

"(Wu) is the top star on our team, and I believe he will undoubtedly find his position in the next national lineup," said East Asia head coach and former Chinese national team coach Gao Hongbo.

CCTV commentator Xu Yang said Wu is one of the best young domestic players in the league.

"Wu can play either attacking or defensive midfielder, and also striker," Xu said. "He is not only a treasure for East Asia, but also an important figure for Chinese soccer and the national team."

Wu's goal is to score 10 goals this season. After scoring three in four games, he has become the most effective Chinese striker in the league so far.

"I won't change my target, or get carried away with one win," he said. "Instead, we will stay humble and fight for every game, but that doesn't mean we don't have enough confidence to win."

Wu has drawn interest from domestic teams Guangzhou Evergrande and Guangzhou R&F, as well as clubs from Norway and Denmark.

"Every professional player has the dream to play in the top platform in European leagues, but I decided to stay because I want to continue our dreams with my brothers," he said. "We still have many goals to accomplish in the Chinese league."

Wu expressed his gratitude to Xu, who established the soccer academy on Shanghai's Chongming Island in 2000. Every domestic player on the club was trained by the 69-year-old from the time they were children.

"We have experienced many hardships in the past 10 years. I want to give the most thanks to our mentor Xu, who built the platform and brought us up," said Wu, who Xu called China's Diego Maradona in 2004. "Ten years is just the first step, and we will fight for higher targets in the future."

Shenhua still in trouble

Shanghai Shenhua coach Sergio Batista admitted he hasn't been paid for months, but said he will stay with the team.

Colombian midfielder Giovanni Moreno, Argentine halfback Rolando Schiavi and Argentine midfielder Patricio Toranzo went on strike last week due to a payment dispute. The trio remained on strike for Sunday's game, in which Shenhua tied Hangzhou Greentown, 0-0.

Shenhua has been plagued by financial problem for months, partly because of a dispute among club owners.

Batista said he has to organize the team's training while tending to his players' emotions over the dispute.

"Not only the three foreign players, myself has also been unpaid for months, but as the head coach, I have to lead the team to go on," the Argentine said in a press conference before Sunday's game.

Coaching change for Zall

Wuhan Zall coach Zheng Xiong tendered his resignation after the team swallowed its fourth defeat, a 1-0 loss to Dalian Aerbin, on Saturday.

The four-game losing streak embarrassed the Super League newcomer, which is the only team that has yet to earn a point through four rounds.

Zheng was booed by home fans demanding his resignation when Seydou Keita scored for Aerbin with a 75-minute free kick.

Zall lost its opening three games to Jiangsu Sainty, Beijing Guo'an and Guizhou Renhe, all by one goal.

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