Shenhua coach alleges CSL bias in favor of Evergrande

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Shanghai Greenland Shenhua head coach Choi Kang-hee.

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua head coach Choi Kang-hee has brought the integrity of the Chinese Super League organization into question when he hinted that defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande was being favored to win the title.

Choi cut a fuming figure when he commented on his side's 1-3 loss to Guangzhou at the post-game press conference over the weekend.

The translation of his comments were baffling.

"I don't have much to say, I thank my players for fighting to the end. I wonder what is the point of their fighting, because this is Evergrande?" his interpreter translated.

After his words were carefully checked on Sunday and Monday, it turned out that he had said something more.

"I have nothing in particular to say. I want to say to my players 'thank you! You are very pathetic'," the South Korean said.

"I can't make out why a match like this one should be held. Isn't it better to simply give the title to the Guangzhou side?"

Choi was believed to have complained that Fabio Cannavaro's team was allowed to field six foreign-born players, including three naturalized players, in its win over Shenhua.

The CSL has stipulated that every team can field no more than four foreign players simultaneously this season.

Meanwhile, Marko Arnautovic says he underestimated the CSL after joining last year from West Ham United, admitting "I didn't look after my body" and gorged on fizzy drinks.

The Austrian forward signed for Shanghai SIPG for a reported 25 million euros (US$30 million) and despite scoring nine goals in 15 games, came in for criticism in some quarters.

"I underestimated it, I was not fit enough, I didn't prepare myself as I should," the 31-year-old said.

"I didn't train, I didn't look after my body, I was eating, I was drinking fizzy drinks — Sprite, Coca-Cola, Fanta — all these sugar drinks that are not good for the body.

"Eating at wrong times. Not sleeping because when I came to China it took me about three weeks until I could adapt to the time.

"I went to bed at 6, 7 o'clock in the morning. I woke up 3, 4 o'clock in the afternoon, went to training, stayed up again all night, eating at wrong times."

Arnautovic, who joined SIPG in July last year, has made a fast start to the coronavirus-delayed new season.

Playing alongside former Chelsea star Oscar and the Brazilian forward Hulk, Arnautovic has scored five goals in eight CSL matches to help SIPG make an unbeaten start to the campaign.

He also laid on an assist for Oscar with a clever backheel in a recent 2-1 win over title rival Beijing Guoan.

In league action on Tuesday night, there were wins for Guoan and Wuhan Zall.

Wuhan routed newly promoted Qingdao Huanghai 3-0, moving up to third in the standings of the Suzhou division with 15 points after eight matches.

Guoan went one better in the late match, crushing Chongqing Lifan 5-2. Guoan lies second in Group B with 17 points, three behind SIPG.

Qingdao (10) is sixth, with Chongqing seventh in the eight-team group on 6 points.

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