SIPG promises fans 'reason to celebrate'

Ma Yue
The Shanghai team makes a pledge to fans before the players left for Suzhou on Monday for the start of the 2020 Chinese Super League which kicks off on Saturday.
Ma Yue
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SIPG promises fans 'reason to celebrate'
Ti Gong

New-signing Brazil striker Ricardo Lopes Pereira receives his No. 9 jersey from Shanghai SIPG club president Zhang Min on Monday.

Shanghai SIPG manager and captain are promising fans "a reason to celebrate" by the end of the season, as the team left for Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, on Monday for the 2020 Chinese Super League which kicks off on Saturday.

The group-stage matches of this year's novel coronavirus-delayed CSL season are being held in neighboring Suzhou and Dalian in northeast Liaoning Province. SIPG's first match in Group B will be against Tianjin Teda at the Kunshan Sports Center next Monday.

"Despite the absence of supporters, we will give our best and bring back another trophy for our fans by the end of the season," Hulk, the captain, said during the team's preseason mobilization ceremony in Pudong’s Yuanshen Stadium on Monday.

Manager Vitor Pereira said: "As long as the team is united, we can surely achieve our goals. By the end of the season, we will give our fans a reason to celebrate."

The 2018 champions finished third in the 16-team standing last year, behind Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Guoan. The team made minor adjustments to the squad by introducing defender Yu Rui and midfielder Mirahmetjan Muzepper, as well as signing Brazil striker Ricardo Lopes Pereira from South Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

SIPG promises fans 'reason to celebrate'
Ti Gong

Captain Hulk waves the club flag during Shanghai SIPG’s preseason mobilization ceremony at Pudong's Yuanshen Stadium on Monday.

Ricardo Lopes Pereira met fans for the first time at the stadium, five months after joining his new club in February. The 29-year-old scored a goal in SIPG's latest friendly against second-tier Suzhou Dongwu at the weekend. SIPG won the match 7-0, with Hulk netting a hat-trick.

The other Shanghai team, Greenland Shenhua, takes on defending champion Evergrande in Dalian on Saturday in a Group A clash. The match also serves as the opener for the 2020 CSL, with Wuhan Zall playing Qingdao Huanghai in Suzhou the same day.

Shenhua signed 11 new players before the start of the new season, with the latest newcomer being former national striker Yu Hanchao. Yu was fired by Evergrande in April after the 33-year-old was caught altering the number plate of his car and was detained by Guangzhou police.

Shenhua arrived in Dalian on July 19. It has set a goal of winning a spot in the 2021 AFC Champions League.

The 14 rounds of CSL group stage matches will end on September 28. The Chinese Football Association has yet to announce the rules for the second-stage competition.

SIPG promises fans 'reason to celebrate'
Ti Gong

Shanghai SIPG manager Vitor Pereira greets fans at Yuanshen Stadium on Monday before getting on the team bus bound for Suzhou ahead of the start of the 2020 Chinese Super League season this weekend.

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