CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Chinese Super League 2017: John Obi Mikel Makes 'Stuttering' Debut with Tianjin Teda's 0-2 Loss to Shandong Luneng

Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel

(Photo : Getty Images) Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel "stutters" in CSL debut with Tianjin Teda.

Former Chelsea standout John Obi Mikel had a dismal first game in the China top-flight as Tianjin Teda FC dropped a 0-2 game to perennial powerhouse Shandong Luneng Taishan FC in a 2017 Chinese Super League first round match held at the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium on Saturday.

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Goal noted that the Nigeria international made a "stuttering" CSL debut as his side went home "empty-handed" against Felix Magath's tough Shandong XI.

Mikel, who was acquired via a free transfer after his Blues contract expired in January, was a disappointment in the game against Taishan Dui, who scored two late goals during the match to pull off a two-goal shutout victory. Teda head coach Jaime Pacheco's squad was not able to answer with anything as they opened their 2017 CSL campaign in a goalless performance.

The 29-year-old midfielder had lots of chances to put Tianjin on the board during the course of the match, but he was unable to hit any goals in the process, NAIJ reported.

The game looked headed for a goalless draw as both sides went scoreless for the first 78 minutes. It was at that time when Shandong's local midfielder Liu Binbin broke the game's deadlock as he buried a goal against Tianjin keeper Du Jia in a one-on-one play.

The hosts then doubled their lead four minutes later with a stunner by Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse off an assist by forward Wu Xinghan.

Mikel, who spent ten-and-a-half seasons with the Stamford Bridge giants before deciding on a move to the Far East this year, was acquired by Tianjin during the Chinese winter transfer window. He had played a total of 374 games in all competitions for the Blues during his decade-long stint while also scoring six goals mainly as a defensive midfielder.

He began his senior career with Norway top-flight squad Lyn Fotball in 2004 coming off a youth career with Nigeria club Plateau United.

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