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Chengdu Qianbao will aim to maintain their impressive undefeated streak in the Chinese Super League as they embark on a journey to face Shenzhen on Thursday.

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Both teams come into this fixture following surprising cup defeats to lower-league opponents over the weekend, with both matches ultimately being decided by penalties.

Chengdu's unbeaten record of 26 league games came to an unexpected halt when they suffered a defeat to Chongqing Tonglianglong, a third-tier team. However, despite the loss, Chengdu's defense has been rock-solid, having not conceded a goal in over six and a half hours of gameplay.

This defensive resilience is quite a contrast to their earlier matches in May, which witnessed a flurry of goals with 22 being scored in their first five games. In their recent four outings, there have only been two goals, resulting in back-to-back 1-0 victories followed by two consecutive goalless draws.

Chengdu's remarkable unbeaten run since October 9 of last year has placed them near the top of the league standings. While they narrowly missed out on continental football qualification last season, they are currently in contention for it again, trailing the top two by just one point and the league leaders, Shanghai Port, by five points.

Despite Chengdu being strong favorites for this encounter, they were unable to secure a victory against Shenzhen in either of their two meetings last season during their inaugural top-flight campaign.

As for the hosts, Shenzhen, most of their points in the current season have been earned on their home turf. Therefore, they will be relieved to return to familiar surroundings after enduring a challenging few weeks. Their cup exit to a third-tier side marked their third consecutive defeat in a series of away matches, following losses to Zhejiang Professional and Changchun Yatai, where they conceded a total of seven goals.

In contrast, Shenzhen has performed relatively well at home, securing three wins and a draw in their seven games at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre this season. However, their away form has yielded only a single point.

Shenzhen's recent stability indicates an improvement compared to their disastrous end to the previous season, where they failed to secure a single point in their final eight matches, scoring just one goal while conceding a staggering 26.

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Shenzhen might still be without their two prominent foreign players, as Frank Acheampong joined Romain Alessandrini on the sidelines during their last league outing. However, they can take solace in the form of 16-year-old Shahzat Ghojaehmet, who continued to impress by scoring in the cup defeat over the weekend. Ghojaehmet became the youngest-ever goalscorer in the Chinese Super League, further justifying his inclusion in the team by manager Jun Xiang, two months after his remarkable achievement.

Chengdu will welcome back Zhuoyi Feng, who was suspended after receiving a red card in their 1-0 victory against league leaders Shanghai Port at the beginning of the month. However, Feng might begin the match on the bench, with Tim Chow and Chao Gan likely to feature in central midfield.

While Chengdu's South American attacking trio of Manuel Palacios, Elkeson, and Felipe Silva have seen a slight dip in their goal-scoring form, their recent performances in the league warrant continued faith in the talented threesome.

Possible starting lineup for Shenzhen:
Wei Minzhe; Xu Haofeng, Zhou Xin, Zhang Yuan, Yuan Mincheng, Liao Lei; Shahzat Ghojaehmet, Huang Ruifeng, Li Ning, Donkin; Du Yuezheng

Possible starting lineup for Chengdu Qianbao:
Zhang Yan; Tang Maio, Liu Tao, Windbichler, Hu

Ruibao, Tang Xin; Chow, Gan Chao; Palacios, Felipe Silva, Elkeson

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