BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) - Dragan Stojkovic’s Guangzhou R&F beat Changchun Yatai 1-0 on Sunday to join Shanghai SIPG and Shandong Luneng as the only teams with maximum points after two rounds of matches in the Chinese Super League.
Brazilian striker Junior Urso scored the only goal of the game as R&F notched a second straight win after defeating Tianjin Quanjian on the opening day of the season.
“Today was a very, very tough game,” said former Yugoslavia midfielder Stojkovic. “It was very tight. The field was less than great, but our players fought very hard. We had a strong desire to win and we achieved it. What matters most is that we got three points.”
Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas’s big spending SIPG continued their impressive start to the season on Friday, when they won their fifth game in a row in all competitions with a 2-0 victory over Yanbian Funde with goals from Lu Wenjun and Wu Lei.
Villas-Boas’s side are top of the early standings on goal difference thanks to an emphatic 5-1 win over Changchun Yatai to kick off their campaign last week. SIPG have also won their first three games in the Asian Champions League this season.
“It was a hard game,” said Villas-Boas. “Yanbian’s players made up their mind to defend from the start and it was hard for my players to find space at first. It wasn’t a very high quality game, but it’s always good to win three points.”
Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande slipped to their first loss of the season against Felix Magath’s Shandong, who came back from going a goal down through Huang Bowen to win 2-1 thanks to second-half efforts from Brazilian duo Gil and Diego Tardelli.
Shanghai Shenhua claimed a point despite playing most of Saturday’s encounter with Tianjin Quanjian with 10 men after Qin Sheng was sent off in the 24th minute for a stamp on Axel Witsel, with captain Giovanni Moreno giving Shenhua an unlikely lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Belgium international Witsel levelled five minutes from fulltime and former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato missed a penalty three minutes later that would have given Fabio Cannavaro’s side their first win of the season.
Chongqing Lifan held Hebei China Fortune, coached by former Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, to a 1-1 draw while Beijing Guoan also had to share the points with Guihou Zhicheng.
“We tried very hard to push the ball into their half and had a lot of desire to win the game,” said Pellegrini.
”If this is our fighting spirit and performance in away games, our home games will be definitely better. We had three more chances but unfortunately we missed them.
“But I‘m very satisfied with my team today and quite confident for the upcoming games.”
Jiangsu Suning, runners-up last year in both the Chinese Super League and the Chinese FA Cup, picked up their first point of the campaign as Choi Yong-soo’s team shared a goalless draw with Tianjin Teda while Liaoning Whowin were held to a 1-1 draw by Henan Jianye. (Reporting by Michael Church in Sydney; Edited by Toby Davis)