The match played at the Jinan Olympic sports Center Stadium saw hosts Shandong Luneng open scoring in the 78th minute through Binbin Liu after the entire first half had failed to to produce a goal for either side.
The homers increased the tally four minutes later all thanks to Senegalese import Demba Cisse who got a timely assist from Xinghan Wu.
Mikel and his new teammates playing their first competitive match as a team since he joined the side from Premier league side Chelsea, managed to maintain 49% possession but could not convert any of their chances. The Chinese Super League appear to be implementing recent restriction on the number of foreign players on the pitch to the letter as only Mikel, Cisse and Italian Graziano Pellè were in action. While the Italian and Cisse played for the home side, Mikel was the only foreigner in action for the visitors
Mikel was however not the only Eagle that suffered defeat in the opener, as Odion Ighalo’s club Changchun Yatai were thoroughly demolished 5-1 by Shanghai SIPG at the Shanghai Stadium. The former Watford forward however saw a full 90 minutes action.
Compatriot Obafami Martins begins his quest for honour with his club Shanghai Shenhua in the new season Sunday against Jiangsu Suning