September 22, 2019 / 4:59 PM / 2 months ago

Soccer-Guangzhou defeat breathes new life into CSL title race

HONG KONG, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande’s lead at the top of the Chinese Super League was trimmed to a point on Sunday after Fabio Cannavaro’s side lost 1-0 to Wuhan Zall to allow the chasing pack to reignite the title race.

Second-placed Beijing Guoan cruised to a 3-0 win over Tianjin Tianhai to move to within a point of the lead while defending champions Shanghai SIPG kept their challenge alive with a late 2-1 win over Henan Jianye.

Li Shenglong’s 90th minute winner - after Oscar had seen his opening free kick conversion cancelled out by Fernando Karanga - gave Vitor Pereira’s 2018 champions just their second win in five league games and moved them to within three points of the summit.

Earlier in the day Norway-born John Hou Saeter - known as Hou Yongyong since gaining Chinese citizenship earlier this year - earned Beijing the lead in Tianjin with less than four minutes on the clock when he slotted past goalkeeper Sun Qibin to score his first goal for the club since joining from Staebek.

The 21-year-old gave Beijing the perfect platform to build on, with Zhang Yuning doubling their advantage 24 minutes later before Renato Augusto put the result beyond doubt with a coolly taken strike from outside the area that flew into the top corner.

Guangzhou, meanwhile, have now lost two and drawn one of the three games they have played since their 13-game winning streak was broken last month and the latest loss came courtesy of a goal from Liu Yun, with the result moving Wuhan up to sixth.

“You can see that we were very anxious and many players wanted to try to use their individual ability to win the game,” said Cannavaro.

“We have to try to get out of the woods in the next five games in the league.”

Elsewhere, Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Yifang bounced back from last week’s loss against Wuhan to hand Shenzhen FC a 2-0 defeat, with goals from Zheng Long and Dong Yanfeng keeping the Spaniard’s side seventh in the standings.

Marouane Fellaini earned Shandong Luneng a point as the former Manchester United midfielder scored the decisive second as his side fought back after going two goals down inside the first 11 minutes to draw 2-2 with Shanghai Shenhua.

Hebei CFFC notched up a 2-1 win over Tianjin Teda while Jiangsu Suning sealed their third win in a row with a 2-1 victory against Chongqing Lifan that moves them to within one point of fourth-placed Shandong. (Reporting by Michael Church)

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