Hat-trick hero Acheampong, brilliant Mikel shine in Tianjin Derby

The Ghana winger stole the show with three goals in an enthralling tie ran by the Tianjin Tigers captain
Frank Acheampong registered a hat-trick as John Obi Mikel posted a majestic display to ensure Tianjin Teda emerged 3-2 victors against Tianjin Quanjian in Sunday’s Chinese Super League Tianjin Derby.

While Acheampong got all the goals, including a stoppage-time winner, his Nigerian counterpart and team captain was constantly in the mix, having a hand in all Teda goals.

In the 16th minute, the Ghana winger outran two Quanjian defenders to lob Mikel’s incisive pass past Lu Zhang as the hosts finished the first half in front.

After the restart, the visitors rallied back, twice, through Alexandre Pato and Anthony Modeste in the 54th and 78th minutes respectively. But Acheampong would break the heart of their archrivals with two late strikes.

The former Anderlecht winger, again, benefited from his skipper's trademark lofted pass to level the tie in the 84th minute before getting lucky to tap the winner into an unguarded net after another Mikel’s trademark pass had caused confusion in the area.

The 30-year-old saw out the entire duration of the heated derby, getting booked in the first half. And such virtuoso performance is one needed ahead of Nigeria’s pre-World Cup friendlies against Poland and Serbia on March 23 and 27 respectively.

Acheampong, on the other hand, scored his first three goals of the season.

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The win was Teda’s first of the season - and it came over their city rivals - after they had drawn and lost their first two games of the season respectively.

Uli Stielike’s side have moved up to seventh in the Chinese Super League log and they face Jiangsu Suning in their next top-flight clash on April 1, after the international break.