After starting on the bench as Shanghai Shenhua visited Guangzhou R&F on Sunday, former Chelsea star Didier Drogba made his Chinese Super League debut to start the second half, immediately impacted a league he hopes to bring to prominence.
Here are the full highlights, from Chinese television. It’s not in English, but you’ve watched soccer before, right? Good, because not only do you get to see Drogba’s first assist for Shenhua, you get a nice pregame shot of the stands, giving you and idea of what kind of crowd a team like Guongzhou can draw for marque game.
You also get glimpses of Nicolas Anelka and Yakubu Aiyegbeni (who was playing for Guangzhou):
Between that 40-yard free kick and the assist on Cao Yunding’s equalizer, Drogba certainly seems to have made a big impact in his first match.
The draw was Shenhua’s third straight result, though they still sit 12th in China’s 16-team first division. Given Guangzhou’s place in the standings (fourth), Shenhua should probably be happy with a road point.
Only two Chinese Super League teams have scored fewer goals, a ranking you’d expect to change quickly once Drogba’s fully integrated into Sergio Batista’s team. Through 18 league games, no Shenhua player has scored more than three times (Nicolas Anelka has only two goals in 12 starts).
Next up for Drogba: Manchester United. The Premier League titans are in Shanghai on Wednesday, part of their preseason tour.