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Soccer-Bakambu brace earns Beijing CSL playoff draw

HONG KONG, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Cedric Bakambu scored twice as Beijing Guoan fought back to salvage a 2-2 draw with Shandong Luneng in the first leg of their Chinese Super League quarter-final playoff on Saturday.

Shandong, playing their first game under new coach Hao Wei, took the lead through former Southampton striker Graziano Pelle from the penalty spot before Jin Jingdao doubled his side’s lead eight minutes before the break.

Bakambu halved the deficit with a penalty three minutes after the restart and levelled the scores 21 minutes from time when he headed in Li Lei’s cross from the left.

The teams meet again on Thursday, with the winners taking on Guangzhou Evergrande or Hebei China Fortune in the semi-finals. Defending champions Guangzhou hold a 3-1 advantage after Friday evening’s first leg.

In the relegation playoffs, Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Pro slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Shijiazhuang Ever Bright in the first leg of their tie in Dalian.

Dalian took the lead after 11 minutes through Sun Guowen but Stopilla Sunzu levelled 20 minutes later.

Shijiazhuang will take a narrow advantage into Thursday’s second leg after Matheus Nascimento’s bobbling shot from distance beat goalkeeper Zhang Chong nine minutes from time.

The winners will go into playoff for the positions between ninth and 12th while the losers will remain in contention for one of the two relegation spots. (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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