Beijing Guoan defeated Chongqing Lifan 4-1 at the Worker’s Stadium to remain two points ahead at top of the table. Chongqing took an early lead through the dangerous former Benfica striker Alan Kardec. Chongqing then sat back, soaking up pressure from Beijing and looking to hit them on the counter. However, Beijing slowly took control of the match and equalized just before half after a great team move ended in a Piao Cheng header. The second half was all Beijing as goals from Renato Augusto, Jonathan Viera and Zhang Xizhe sealed all three points.
Guangzhou Evergrande defeated Tianjin Teda3-0, with goals from Yang Liyu, Elkeson and Paulinho. Yang Liyu angled a fine strike from the edge of the box following a mis-cleared corner, and proceeded not to celebrate against his former club, where he spent a season on loan. Elkeson added the second, as rumors continue to swirl that he will become the first naturalized player to play for the Chinese national team without Chinese heritage. Paulinho scored the third, and kissed the Guangzhou badge, much to the adoration of the home supporters. Guangzhou Evergrande remain second in the table, two points back of Beijing Guoan.
Shanghai SIPG beat Jiangsu Suning 3-0. In just the second minute, Hulk smashed in a volley from an Oscar corner to give the home side the lead. Then with just eight minutes gone, Ye Chongqiu was shown a straight red card for a horrific tackle. From then on it was all Shanghai, with Zhang Wei adding a second, finishing a rebound following a distance strike from Hulk. Oscar rounded off the scoring with a brilliant strike with an assist from Hulk. Shanghai keep pace with Guangzhou Evergrande and remain just two points back of leaders Beijing Guoan. New signing Marko Arnautovic was not included in the matchday squad, having just arrived in Shanghai.
Dalian Yifang defeated Guangzhou R&F 3-2. An early penalty conversion by the league’s top scorer Eran Zahavi gave R&F the lead, before Yannick Carrasco leveled with a penalty of his own. Boateng and Carrasco added two more for Dalian, before Zahavi pulled one back for R&F. Zahavi extends his lead in the golden boot race to 8, with 20 goals for the season. Rafa Benitez will be delighted to have Carrasco in scoring form. Despite rumors linking the Belgian with a move back to Europe, he was outstanding on the night, deservedly winning Man of the Match and inspiring his side.
Henan Jianye defeated Shangdong Luneng3-2, with goals from Henan’s foreign trident of Ivo, Fernando Karanga, and Franck Ohandza. Ohanzda fed Karanga for an easy tap in following a disastrous error from Shandong centreback Liu Yang. Ivo picked out Ohzanda for the second goal on the counter attack. Shandong scored through Duan Liuyu stunner and Liu Binbin, but will be disappointed in the result, as it deals a blow to their top three hopes, and with that, qualification for the AFC Champions League.
Hebei China Fortune beat Shanghai Shenhua 2-1, in a battle of teams looking to avoid a relegation battle. Shanghai Shenhua took an early lead through 31-year-old South Korean international striker Kim Shin-Wook, making his debut as he just signed for the club following a transfer from Korean side Jeonbuk Motors. However late goals including a Marcão header and a smart finish from Dong Xuesheng gave Hebei all three points, as Shanghai’s trouble persists. A club once boasting the likes of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka now find themselves just 1 point above the relegation zone more than halfway through the season. New signing for Shanghai Shenhua, Stephan El Shaarawy was not yet included in the squad.
Wuhan Zall beat Beijing Renhe 2-0. Beijing centreback Wan Houliang was sent off in the 26th minute, resulting in a tough evening for the relegation threatened capital club. Brazilian Baptistao scored the opener for Wuhan after being acquired in January from RCD Espanyol for a fee just under $7 million. Ivorian striker Jean Evrard Kouassi converted a second half penalty to seal the points for Wuhan. Beijing Renhe are showing few signs of life, as they sit bottom of the table with a league worst goal differential of -20. Next up for Beijing Renhe is a capital derby against top of the table Beijing Guoan.
Tianjin Tianhai drew against Shenzhen FC 2-2, climbing above Beijing Renhe on goal difference in a desperate battle to avoid relegation.Goals from Renatinho and Yao Junsheng for Tianjin Tianhai were cancelled out by a John Mary double for Shenzhen. The gap between the two clubs is now only 3 points, and Tianjin Tianhai sit just one point form safety with Shanghai Shenhua just above them.
OFF THE PITCH:
Shenzhen FC have signed Brazilian-born Portuguese striker Dyego Sousa from Liga NOS side Braga for a fee of around $6 million. He is a powerful striker, standing 6 foot 3 inches, who scored 23 goals in 51 appearances for Braga. Shenzhen will be hoping that Sousa can help the club avoid relegation, as they are currently only three points above the drop zone.
Guangzhou Evergrande signed CSL veteran striker Elkeson from title challenger Shanghai SIPG for just over $6 million. The move is seen to be a win for both sides, as Shanghai will raise funds to contribute to the signing of Marko Arnautovic, while Guangzhou are getting a proven marksman who, according to many rumors, may be the first player without Chinese heritage to be naturalized and play for China. This would help Guangzhou reach their goal of fielding an entirely Chinese team by 2020. Elkeson returns to Guangzhou Evergrande having played there from 2013-2015.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
This week’s Pandaily Player of the Week is Dalian Yifang’s Yannick Carrasco. The Belgian attacker was absolutely outstanding for Dalian, constantly threatening Guangzhou R&F’s defense. He won and converted a penalty, played the incisive pass for Boateng’s second goal, and scored the winner himself with a fine strike from outside the box. Perhaps he has lacked a bit of consistency since his move to Dalian, but he showed last week just how valuable he can be. Rafa Benitez will be pleased not only with Carrasco’s creativity in the final third, but his work rate and movement off the ball. If he can build on this performance going forward, Dalian will be a difficult match for any side in the league.