HONG KONG, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Shandong Luneng’s Italian forward Graziano Pelle’s converted a first-half penalty to secure a 1-0 first-leg advantage over Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese FA Cup final on Friday.
The former Southampton striker slotted the ball past Li Shuai five minutes before the break to give Li Xiaopeng’s side a slender lead ahead of the second leg in Shanghai on Dec. 6.
The winners of the Chinese FA Cup will take one of the country’s four berths in next year’s Asian Champions League.
In the Chinese Super League, Israel international striker Eran Zahavi set a single-season record with his 29th goal in Guangzhou R&F’s 4-1 win at bottom side Beijing Renhe.
Zahavi scored his side’s second goal to pass the record set by Brazilian striker Elkeson who netted 28 times for Guangzhou Evergrande in 2014.
The result moves Beijing closer to relegation as they stand nine points adrift of the safety zone with three games left.
Beijing must win all of their remaining matches and hope 14th placed Tianjin Tianhai do not pick up any more points.
With the final standings determined by head-to-head record, that would see the capital club retain their top flight status. (Writing by Michael Church; Editing by Ken Ferris)