September 18, 2021

Martins helps Shanghai Shenhua secure victory against Shenzhen

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The Nigeria international was in action as the Flower of Shanghai clinched their first league win of the season

Obafemi Martins made his first start since his return to Shanghai Shenhua in their 3-2 victory over Shenzhen in Thursday’s Chinese Super League game.

The 35-year-old made his long-awaited return to football when he came off the bench for the Flower of Shanghai in their defeat to Guangzhou Evergrand on Sunday.

The Nigeria international did enough in the encounter to earn a starting role against the Youth Army, pairing Baojie Zhu in the attack.

Mingjian Zhao opened the scoring for the Flower of Shanghai as early as the 10th minute of the game after he was set up by Xinli Peng.

Baojie Zhu doubled the lead three minutes into the second half and John Mary reduced his side’s deficit in the 53rd minute.

Kim scored the third goal for the hosts moments after the hour mark, converting from the penalty spot, which was enough to help Choi Kang-hee’s men seal their first win of the season, despite a late-minute strike from Mary.

Martins struck two shots, completed one dribble and had a 65% successful pass rate in the encounter before he was replaced in the 55th minute by Shin-Wook Kim.

The Super Eagles striker has been without a club since 2018 when he left the Flower of Shanghai after suffering a hamstring injury.

The forward, however, rejoined the Hongkou Football Stadium outfit after recovering from the injury as a direct replacement for his compatriot Odion Ighalo, who teamed up with Manchester United on loan until January 2021.

In his first stint with Shanghai Shenhua, Martins scored 19 league goals in 40 appearances and played a prominent role as the club won the 2017 Chinese FA Cup.

The forward will hope to open his goal account this season when the Flower of Shanghai take on Shandong Luneng Taishan in their next league game on August 5.

Martins has 18 goals in 42 appearances for the Super Eagles since he made his debut at the age of 19 in 2004.