Sept 25 (Reuters) - Shanghai SIPG claimed the top spot in Group B and progressed to the knockout stage of the Chinese Super League (CSL) with a 1-0 win over Beijing Guoan in the Suzhou hub on Friday.
In a clash of the top two sides, Brazilian forward Hulk netted the winning goal for Shanghai SIPG from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after the video assistant referee (VAR) awarded a spot-kick for a handball inside the box.
Despite the defeat, second-placed Beijing Guoan secured qualification to the knockout stage alongside Chongqing Lifan and Hebei China Fortune, who are third and fourth respectively, with one more round of fixtures left.
Chongqing Lifan thrashed Shijiazhuang Ever Bright 4-1 despite going down to 10 men after goalkeeper Deng Xiaofei picked up a second yellow card early in the second half.
Polish midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski stole the show with a hat-trick, while Brazilian Alan Kardec celebrated a goal and an assist to secure qualification for Chongqing Lifan.
Mohamed Buya Turay and Marcao Hebei got on the scoresheet as Hebei China Fortune eased to a 2-0 victory over Wuhan Zall.
Meanwhile, Qingdao Huanghai ended their six-match losing streak with a 3-0 win over bottom-placed Tianjin Teda.
Gao Xiang netted the opener in the 37th minute before Frenchman Romain Alessandrini scored twice in the second half to seal an emphatic win for Huanghai.
The final round of matches in Group A will be held in the Dalian hub on Sunday followed by Group B matches on Monday. (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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