Super League match sees 3 big international stars

Updated: 2012-07-23 15:18

By Tang Zhe (

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It might have taken fans some time to realize they were watching the Chinese Super League when three strikers from the Premier League - Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Yakubu Aiyegbeni - appeared on the pitch at the same time in a game between Shanghai Shenhua and Guangzhou R&F on Sunday evening.

Drogba's China debut at Guangzhou University Town Stadium was a historic moment for Chinese soccer.

The Cote d'Ivoire striker was sent on the pitch after halftime. He rifled a 35-yard free-kick on target before flashing a header over the bar, and assisted Cao Yunding to even the score in the 68th minute. The game was a 1-1 draw.

Though he didn't score, Drogba was named the hero of the game by the Chinese media. It's hoped he will lead Shenhua to rebound in the league. Shenhua coach Sergio Batista said Drogba was happy with his debut.

"We have been keeping in communication the whole week," Batista said after the match. "He would play today no matter if it is going to be a win or a loss, because he needs time on the field to adjust his form. He said he is very happy with the game, and that it felt good to team up with Anelka. He is eager to win.

"This was a wonderful game, because there are many good players. I am very satisfied with the performance of our players. We need to improve step by step, and I'm glad to see that our team has a strong desire to win."

Shenhua's Chelsea frontline of Drogba and Anelka will be tested by their old Premier League acquaintance Manchester United in a friendly on Wednesday in Shanghai. The club will then return to Guangzhou to play Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande in the league on Saturday.

"Every game is difficult," Batista said. "Evergrande is at the top of the league, and it is also the defending champion. But we have three excellent players (Drogba, Anelka and Giovanni Moreno) and we will make full preparation for the game. We will play Evergrande with the same will to win, we want to win every game."