Soccer-Jiangsu, Shandong advance to Chinese Super League knockout stage

Sept 24 (Reuters) - Jiangsu Suning progressed to the knockout stage of the Chinese Super League (CSL) with a 2-1 win over Group A leaders and defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday.

Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira gave Jiangsu the lead with a goal a minute before halftime before Evergrande’s He Chao equalised with a 72nd-minute tap-in.

However, Jiangsu scored from a set-piece four minutes later when Italian striker Eder pounced on a loose ball in the box to fire home into the bottom corner, sealing his side’s top-four finish with one more round of fixtures left.

Shandong Luneng also progressed with a 2-0 victory over bottom side Henan Jianye to ensure they stayed second, ahead of Jiangsu on goal difference with both clubs on 23 points.

Brazilian forward Roger Guedes scored the opener before Italy’s Graziano Pelle marked his 100th CSL game with a goal from the penalty spot following a handball in the box.

Fourth-placed Shanghai Shenhua (18 points) and Shenzhen (17) will compete for the final spot in the last round of Group A matches on Sunday.

Jordi Cruyff’s Shenzhen thumped Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Pro 3-1 with Norwegian Ole Selnaes setting up two headers for Iran’s Morteza Pouraliganji and Gao Lin while Colombian forward Harold Preciado scored one on a counter-attack.

Former Premier League striker Salomon Rondon scored the only goal for Dalian, chesting down a long ball before firing it low into the corner.

Meanwhile, Dutchman Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Guangzhou R&F were beaten 2-0 by Shanghai Shenhua, with Peng Xinli and Bi Jinhao getting on the scoresheet.

The penultimate round of Group B matches will be held on Friday. (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai, Writing by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)