Beijing Guoan defeated Hebei China Fortune 2-0. In Bruno Genesio’s first match in charge of Beijing Guoan his side came away with all three points thanks to two late penalties in added time. Renato Augusto rattled the woodwork in the 4th minute with a curler from distance following some brilliant skill. A minute later Fernandinho missed an opportunity to level for Hebei, as he was unmarked at the back post but sliced his volley wide. Beijing Guoan’s new signing Fernando started in the defensive midfield position and put in a very solid first display in a green shirt. A handball in the 86th minute allowed Renato Augusto to put Beijing ahead, and Cedric Bakambu earned and converted another penalty minutes later. A massive match against Guangzhou Evergrande looms next Sunday.
Guangzhou Evergrande beat Shandong Luneng 3-0. Guangzhou Evergrande kept their lead atop the table at 4 points, with a commanding 3-0 win away from home against Shandong Luneng. It was the usual suspects on the scoresheet for the leaders, with Wei Shihao, Elkeson and Paulinho all scoring for the south coast powerhouse. Roger Guedes wasted some decent changes for Shandong, before Wei Shihao latched onto Yang Liyu’s cross at the back post in the 52nd minute to open the scoring. Just three minutes later Elkeson collected the ball near the edge of the penalty area and curled a left-footed finish into the side netting. Paulinho rounded off the scoring in the 89th minute to hand the league leaders a comfortable victory.
Shanghai SIPG drew with Tianjin Tianhai 0-0. This was a huge point gained for relegation threatened Tianjin Tianhai, and a costly misstep for defending champions Shanghai SIPG. Marko Arnautovic forced a good save from Zhang Lu in the 9th minute. The Austrian threatened throughout, hitting the post and forcing another good save from a header, but couldn’t ultimately break the deadlock, as he was thwarted time and time again by the excellent Zhang Lu. A frustrating result for Shanghai SIPG, but an important point for Tianjin Tianhai, as they remain one point above Shenzhen FC in the relegation battle.
Dalian Yifang defeated Chongqing Lifan 3-1. Rafa Benitez’s new signing Salomon Rondon opened the scoring in the 38th minute, with the assist from Marek Hamsik. Chongqing’s standout performer as of late, Fernandinho, scored a header from a free kick to equalize in the 43rd minute. The big Venezuelan then set up Yannick Carrasco for a sumptuous strike from outside the penalty area to make it 2-1 to Dalian. In the 63rd minute, Rondon completed his brace after some fine link up play with Hamsik, and a deft finish. The talismanic striker is off to a flying start under his old manager with both great overall play and much needed goals.
Guangzhou R&F drew with Jiangsu Suning 2-2. The prolific Israeli and league top scorer Eran Zahavi opened the scoring, with some brilliant footwork in the box, and a calm finish. Alex Teixeira then equalized for Jiangsu following a mazy dribble and some horrendous defending from Guangzhou. After halftime Zahavi turned creator, laying off a nice assist for Dia Saba to finish and put Guangzhou up 2-1. However just five minutes later, Éder equalized prodding home a well taken set piece. Brazilian defender Miranda made his debut, coming on for Éder in the 88th minute, but the score ultimately ended 2-2.
Tianjin Teda defeated Henan Jianye 2-0. Right on the stroke of halftime, Frank Acheampong had his penalty saved, spurning the change for Tianjin to take the lead. Sandro Wagner put Tianjin Teda ahead in the 67th minute with a typically accurate header from an angled cross. The big German was then sent off for a second yellow in the 90th minute, after challenging with a high boot. Acheampong then fed Johnathan for Tianjin’s second goal as time expired.
Shanghai Shenhua drew with Wuhan Zall 2-2. Korean striker Kim Shin-Wook has been a revelation since arriving, and he added another two well taken goals. Baptistao and Jean Evrard Kouassi scored for Wuhan, who have now drawn four straight league matches. Italian international Stephan El Shaarawy made his debut for Shanghai Shenhua, coming on the 62nd minute. He wasted one good chance to break the deadlock, but overall provided a threat and caused danger as he acclimates to his new teammates and surroundings.
Shenzhen FC drew with Beijing Renge 1-1. In a match between the league’s two worst sides this season, tensions were high as both teams were desperate to climb out of the relegation zone. John Mary opened the scoring with a fine header in the 26th minute, giving Shenzhen the lead. Beijing Renhe struck back just before halftime, as Zhu Baojie arrowed a low strike into the corner. Beijing Renhe can feel aggrieved as in injury time in the first half, they had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside. In such a crucial match to avoid relegation, such refereeing errors are unacceptable, especially with the implementation of VAR.
OFF THE PITCH:
Beijing Guoan sacked their manager Roger Schmidt last week, after his side were knocked out of the Chinese FA Cup with a loss to Shandong Luneng, and then two consecutive losses in the league that see them now 4 points behind leaders Guangzhou Evergrande. Beijing were leading for a substantial part of the campaign but the recent run of bad results did not sit well with a club who feel like this may be their best chance to win the league in recent years. Renato Augusto, the undisputed driving force of Beijing for the last few years is 31, and the time is ticking for the capital club to win a title before the Brazilian’s powers begin to wane. Bruno Genesio, a French manager previously in charge of Olympique Lyon since 2015, has taken charge.
Beijing Guoan also signed Brazilian midfielder Fernando on loan from Spartak Moscow. He has previously played for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine, Sampdoria in Italy, and Spartak Moscow in Russia. The 27-year-old plays as a defensive midfielder, and will provide cover for Beijing since Jonathan Viera’s recent injury. Fernando had a strong debut in his sides victory against Hebei, and will look to revitalize Beijing’s title challenge. Beijing will expect Fernando to make an immediate impact, as they face current leaders Guangzhou Evergrande next Sunday looking to cut the 4 points between the teams to 1.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
This week’s Pandaily Player of the Week is Dalian’s Salomon Rondon. The former Newcastle striker has been influential since his move to China’s northeast coast. He has linked well with Yannick Carrasco and Marek Hamsik as his performance this past week typified. He scored two predatory goals, arriving in the box at the right time to strike. In addition to his poaching instincts, Rondon has shown he is rather adept at playing with the ball at his feet, linking the play nicely and holding the ball up to bring others into the attack. Rafa Benitez has a focal point to his attack that will allow the likes of Carrasco and Hamsik to flourish. Look for this understanding to develop for the remaining 9 games of the campaign and be even more potent next season when Rafa will have an entire preseason to drill his team in his preferred tactics. Rondon will definitely be central to Dalian’s success going forward as they try to displace the top 3 clubs.