CSL Preview: Harbin Yiteng hope to end struggles
The newly promoted side lost their first eight matches of the campaign, scoring just three goals in the process to leave them rooted to the bottom of the table.
But spirits were raised by a 1-1 draw at Henan Jianye last week, with Australian midfielder Adam Hughes' looping header nine minutes from time securing a point, and manager Wang Helong will hope for another improved performance this week.
No side have conceded more goals than Yiteng's 18, while their four goals scored is the lowest tally in the division, but they will take heart from the visitors' inconsistent start to the season.
Yatai have won just twice in nine matches, though they did record a surprise triumph against Shandong Luneng last week.
Montenegro international Fatos Beqiraj scored late in a 1-0 home win against last season's runners-up, who had a day to forget.
Luneng, who dropped five points behind leaders and champions Guangzhou Evergrande, will aim to respond when they welcome lowly Dalian Aerbin on Saturday.
Marcello Lippi's side already look well set to make it four league titles in a row after a superb start to the season that has seen them win eight of their nine matches.
Brazilian Elkeson tops the league's scoring charts with eight goals as he seeks to better his 24-goal campaign for Evergrande last term.
Their next challenge comes on Saturday at Shanghai Shenxin, who are unbeaten in four.
Second-placed Beijing Guoan are three points behind the leaders and travel to a Tianjin Teda outfit who reside in the bottom half.
Other fixtures this weekend see fourth-placed Guangzhou R&F battle Shanghai SIPG while Guizhou Renhe take on Shanghai Shenhua.
Finally, Henan Jianye and Liaoning Whowin – who are both just six points above Harbin Yiteng – face Jiangsu Sainty and Hangzhou respectively.