Beijing Guoan defeated mid-table side Wuhan Zall 3-0 at the Worker’s Stadium to remain top of the table, with a brace from Jonathan Viera, and talisman Renato Augusto added another from the penalty spot. Guoan have now extended their unbeaten record at home to 8 straight matches. They are currently just 2 points ahead of title challengers Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG.
Dalian Yifang downed Henan Jianye 3-1, in Rafa Benitez’s first match in charge of the northeast club. In front of the home fans, Emmanuel Boateng scored twice, with Yannick Carrasco adding another from the penalty spot to seal a successful start to Benitez’s tenure.
Guangzhou Evergrande defeated Tianjin Tianhai 3-1, with goals from Yan Dinghao, Paulinho and Xu Xin. Tianjin Tianhai are currently rooted to the bottom of the table on 10 points with only one victory this season, and will surely face a monumental struggle to avoid relegation.
Shandong Luneng defeated Beijing Renhe 2-0, with second half goals from Graziano Pelle and Roger Guedes. The former Southampton and Italy striker Pelle takes his goal tally to 12 for the season. Shandong claimed all 3 points despite having Lin Dai sent off in the 83rd minute. Beijing Renhe sit just a point above Tianjin Tianhai and are currently in the relegation zone.
Shanghai SIPG beat Shanghai Shenhua in a lopsided derby, 3-1. Brazilian attacker Hulk scored twice, with Wang Shenchao adding the third. An own goal from He Guan marred the clean sheet but it’s another 3 points as Shanghai SIPG look to retain their league title.
Tianjin Teda defeated Jiangsu Suning in a hotly contested match that ended 2-1. German former Bayern Munich striker Sandro Wagner scored, and Frank Acheampong added another. The 25-year-old Ghanian has been prolific since his move from Anderlecht in 2017, scoring 17 goals in 26 total appearances from Tianjin Teda.
Guangzhou R&F beat Chongqing Lifan 4-2. Dusko Tosic opened the scoring for R&F, before Chongqing pulled ahead through goals from Alan Kardec and Adrian Mierzejewski. An own goal, then a penalty converted by Eran Zahavi, and a stoppage time strike from Dia Saba sealed the points for R&F. The Israeli Zahavi has been on fire this campaign and is the league’s top scorer so far this season with 17 goals. Guangzhou R&F play an expansive open style, scoring the most goals in the league this season with 33, while also conceding the most at 36.
Hebei China Fortune drew with Shenzhen FC 1-1. Jaiver Mascherano’s Hebei took the lead through a goal from Dong Xuesheng before Cameroonian striker John Mary leveled in the 94th minute for Shenzhen. Both sides have had difficult campaigns this season, and will be aiming to avoid the drop.
OFF THE PITCH:
Shanghai SIPG have completed a $28 million transfer for Austrian and now former West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic. Arnautovic is an immensely talented forward, capable of scoring goals as well as linking the play. Although, there has been some inconsistency in his game due to his volatile attitude, when on his game, he is likely to light up the scoring charts in the Chinese Super League. This move gives a huge boost to Shanghai SIPG’s title hopes, as they try to catch capital club and current front runners Beijing Guoan. With the recent transfer of Elkeson to Guangzhou, Shanghai have another opening for a foreign player, where Arnautovic should fit in nicely. Shanghai’s attack of Arnautovic, Hulk and Oscar is now looking like the most formidable attacking lineup in the league.
Shanghai Shenhua parted ways with ex-Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores last week after the coach resigned for “personal reasons”. The Spaniard joined on Christmas Day 2018 and was only in charge for 17 competitive matches. This campaign, the club sits 14th out of 16, one point and one place above the relegation zone. Last season they finished a respectable 7th. Sanchez Flores has only won three matches in charge of the Shanghai club. Meanwhile, the club has completed the signing of Italian international Stephan El Shaarawy from Roma, for a reported $20 million, to bolster a squad in crisis.
Guangzhou Evergrande’s Hui Ka Yan,chairman of the Evergrande Group, met with legendary Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho to discuss the possibility of him managing China’s most successful club side. The club, backed by China’s massive real estate conglomerate Evergrande, reportedly offered Mourinho a deal with $100 million, which Mourinho turned down. The sheer ambition of such a move from Guangzhou, is the latest attempt from a Chinese club to execute high profile acquisition of some of the football industry’s top talent.
Qingdao Huanghai, a team in China’s second tier, recently signed former Manchester City and Barcelona midfield legend Yaya Toure. He played his first match for the club this week, in a 1-1 draw with Zhejiang Greentown.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
This week’s Pandaily Player of the Week is Beijing Guoan’s Jonathan Viera. The Spanish midfielder has been having an excellent season, notching 7 goals and 6 assists. He added two goals to his tally this week, and also drew the penalty that Renato Augusto converted. He has developed a fine partnership with Augusto in midfield, and has been one of the main reasons Beijing Guoan is top of the league right now. If Guoan are to sustain this title push for the entire season, unlike last season when they struggled in the second half of the campaign, they will need Viera to continue to produce goals and assists from midfield.