Late goals put Guangzhou in CSL driving seat

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande secured a 3-1 first-leg win over Hebei China Fortune in Suzhou on Friday as late goals from Elkeson and Wei Shihao put Fabio Cannavaro’s champions in control of their Chinese Super League playoff quarter-final.

Yin Hongbo had put Hebei in front seven minutes before halftime with a left-foot strike from just outside the area, but Wu Shaocong levelled with a similar effort in the 65th minute.

The game looked destined for a draw until Wei was brought down in the penalty area five minutes from fulltime by substitute Zhao Yuhao and Elkeson stepped up to stroke the resulting spot kick home.

Wei then doubled Guangzhou’s advantage in the first minute of stoppage time when he headed home Xu Xin’s corner from close range to put the eight-times champions in a strong position ahead of the second leg on Wednesday.

Earlier on Friday, Ghana international Frank Acheampong scored in each half to give Tianjin Teda a 2-0 win and the upper hand over Jordi Cruyff’s Shenzhen FC in the first leg of their relegation playoffs clash.

Acheampong put his side in front after four minutes before adding another six minutes into the second half.

The teams will meet again next week with the loser remaining in a battle to avoid one of the two relegation berths from the 16-team division.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Toby Davis