Li Hang (R) of Wuhan Zall converts a penalty in the second leg of his side's playoff against Chinese League One runners-up Zhejiang Energy Greentown in Suzhou, China, on Nov. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Ni Lixiang)
SUZHOU, China, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Wuhan Zall avoided relegation from the Chinese Super League (CSL) after defeating Zhejiang Energy Greentown 1-0 in the second leg of their playoff here on Sunday.
Zhejiang, the runner-up of the second-tier China League One, missed out on a berth in the 2021 CSL season. It had drawn with Wuhan 2-2 in their first leg of the playoff.
Both teams contended fiercely for the fateful ticket into the next CSL. Though Wuhan had the advantage of controlling the ball, the team did not pose much threat to Zhejiang until the 28th minute, when captain Li Hang converted a penalty kick for the Wuhan side.
In the 54th minute, Zhejiang's Zimbabwean player Nyasha Mushekwi tried to score with a header but was denied by the goalkeeper Dong Chunyu. In the 76th minute, Mushekwi's attack was hindered as the referee confirmed his fouling with a handball. Zhejiang failed to reverse the score before the final whistle was blown.
"Many of our players, especially the foreign ones, got injured in this year's CSL. Even though, they held out from the opening ceremony to the last playoffs," said Pang Li, coach of Wuhan Zall, adding that players' physical and mental fatigue under such a situation shall be paid attention to in the next season.
As part of a revamped format, the team that finished 15th of the 16 CSL clubs faced the team that was second in the second tier for a place in next season's top flight.
Shijiazhuang Ever Bright ranked bottom of the CSL and was relegated to League One next season. Changchun Yatai will return to the CSL in 2021 after winning the second-tier league.