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Soccer-Beijing extend title race with last gasp win
October 20, 2014 / 3:16 AM / 3 years ago

Soccer-Beijing extend title race with last gasp win

BEIJING, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Beijing Guoan struck a dramatic 94th minute winner from the penalty spot to beat Hangzhou Greentown 2-1 away on Sunday to extended the Chinese Super League title race by another week.

Argentine midfielder Pablo Martin Batalla kept his cool to send the goalkeeper the wrong way in stoppage time and leave the capital club six points behind defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande with only two games left.

The top two meet at Guangzhou’s Tianhe Stadium on Sunday where anything less than a win for the visitors will mean a fourth straight title for the big spending side.

Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou side recorded their ninth consecutive win on Saturday when the league’s top scorer Elkeson bagged another late goal to seal a 2-1 at Guizhou Renhe.

It was the Brazilian forward’s 27th goal of another brilliant campaign as he moved within three of becoming the club’s all time leading scorer, a mark held by team mate and China international Gao Lin who has 53.

Beijing have not enjoyed the some prolific scoring but have ground out the wins none the less, with Sunday’s success their sixth on the bounce and 10th in their last 12 as they maintain their push for a first title since 2009.

They fell behind at 11th placed Greentown after 33 minutes but Zhang Xizhe finished off a brilliant team move to fire them level on the hour mark to set up a tight finale.

The title looked set to be going to Guangzhou as the game moved into the 91st minute still level but Cao Xuan was then guilty of pulling back Dejan Damjanovic in the penalty area with the defender dismissed before Batalla converted from the spot.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Guangzhou R&F look set to join the top two in next season’s AFC Champions League after they scored three times in the last 11 minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw at Shandong Luneng.

Guangzhou are five points ahead of Shandong in the race for the third and final qualifying place.

At the bottom, Harbin Yiteng were relegated after a 1-1 draw with Shanghai SIPG, with four clubs battling to avoid joining them in the second tier next season. (Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singpore; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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