Beijing Guoan defeated Beijing Renhe 2-1 at the Worker’s Stadium as they remain two points ahead at the top of the table. Guo An scored early on in the 6th minute through a strong header from Wang Ziming, following some good work down the left side between Renato Augusto and Jin Taiyan. Jonathan Viera limped off around the 23rd minute, with DR Congo striker Cedric Bakambu coming on, making his first appearance since his absence to participate in the AFCON Cup of Nations. Guoan became complacent following the early goal, and Renhe striker Makhete Diop scored a deflected strike from a free kick on the hour mark. Guoan pushed for a winner and eventually found it as Renato Augusto, who was outstanding on the night, won and converted a penalty to give Guoan all three points. A nervous but crucial victory keeps Guoan in control of the title race.
Guangzhou Evergrande defeated Dalian Yifang4-1. Rafa Benitez experienced his first loss as Dalian manager, at the hands of south coast powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande. Dalian took an early lead in the 11th minute, but a Paulinho hat-trick blew away Rafa’s side. The Brazilian was energetic and tenacious with well timed runs into the box, and smart finishing. The win sees Guangzhou Evergrande stay right on the heels of Beijing Guoan, just two points back with an equal goal difference of +26.
Shanghai SIPG beat Hebei China Fortune 3-0. Oscar was fantastic throughout, and could have claimed numerous assists had his teammates been more clinical. Goals came from Chen Binbin, Hulk and Oscar. Shanghai look a well oiled machine, even without star signing Arnautovic. The challenge for manager Vitor Pereira will be to integrate the mercurial Austrian without upsetting the current team chemistry. They remain right on the heals of Beijing Guoan, just two points back.
Shanghai Shenhua beat Henan Jianye 3-2. A roller coaster match saw Shanghai take the lead through new signing Kim Shin-Wook. Then in the 34th minute Han Xuan was shown a straight red card from a ridiculous shirt pull. Giovanni Moreno missed the ensuing penalty but scored the rebound to 2-0 up against 10 men Henan. However, Fernando Karanga scored twice in quick succession just before the half to make it 2-2 at the interval. Shanghai eventually found the winner through Cong Zhen on 64 minutes. Henan Jianye played exceptionally well given the sending off, and will feel unlucky not to come away with a result.
Shandong Luneng defeated Tianjin Tianhai 2-1. Shandong took the lead on 36 minutes when Graziano Pellè towered to score a header from a Liu Binbin cross. Tianjin won a penalty from a handball, but Leonardo smashed it against the crossbar. Then Liu Binbin made it 2-0 to Shandong with a quality finish into the bottom right corner. Brazilian striker Alan scored a consolation for Tianjin in stoppage time. Tianjin Tianhai are three points from safety, behind Shenzhen FC.
Guangzhou R&F beat Tianjin Teda 2-1. Eran Zahavi was once again the main man for Guangzhou R&F, scoring a penalty and adding another smart finish after a crafty goal from Tianjin Teda’s Zheng Kaimu. His brace takes him to 21 goals for the season, as he sets an unprecedented pace in the race for the Golden Boot. With 12 matches remaining, the Israeli frontman is on pace to break the single season scoring record in the CSL, which is 28, by Elkeson in the 2014 season. If Guangzhou R&F can tighten up at the back, where they have conceded a league high 40 goals they should climb the table thanks to Zahavi’s goals.
Chongqing Lifan beat Shenzhen FC 2-0. Goals form Alan Kardec and Feng Jin gave Chongqing Lifan the win. Shenzhen FC are still awaiting the inclusion of new signing Dyego Sousa in the matchday squad. He should provide a much needed lift to a dull Shenzhen attack, which has scored the join-lowest goals in the league with just 15.
Wuhan Zall drew against Jiangsu Suning 1-1. After Jiangsu took the lead through Wu Xi, Italian defender had a moment a madness and kicked out at Wuhan player’s head following a collision. The referee, after consulting VAR, showed a red card to the center back and the CSL will likely review the transgression and hand down an additional ban. Wuhan were able to equalize against the 10 men of Jiangsu with a diving header from Rafael Silva, and it ended a point to each side.
OFF THE PITCH:
Liverpool FC and MG Motors have extended their partnership to incorporate global cooperation. MG Motors was previously the club’s Official Automotive Partner in China, and the renewal sees the car brand’s partnership take up the new designation of Official Global Car Partner of Liverpool FC. The partnership will help accelerate MG Motor’s growth and brand awareness beyond China, in regions around the world, including Europe, Asia, The Middle East, Australia, South America, North Africa, and others.
Salomon Rondon has been rumored to follow his former manager from Newcastle to the northeast coast of China, at Dalian Yifang. In a move thought to cost over $20 million, the Venezuelan could provide a much needed focal point to Dalian Yifang’s attack. Having spent last season at Newcastle on loan from West Bromwich Albion, Rondon enjoyed his best Premier League campaign tallying 11 goals and 7 assists. West Ham United are also said to be in the race for his signature.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
This week’s Pandaily Player of the Week is Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulinho. He dominates the pitch in the manner of a true box-to-box midfield. In addition to his hat-trick he was constantly disrupting Dalian’s possession and launching powerful counter attacks. His athleticism and directness was too much for Dalian to handle, as he constantly surged forward from midfield, he was simultaneously a destroyer, creator and finisher. An all around brilliant performance from Paulinho will delight manager Fabio Cannavaro as Guangzhou Evergrande continue their pursuit of Beijing Guoan at the top of the table.