April 8, 2018 / 5:20 PM / 7 months ago

Soccer-SIPG stay three points clear with fifth win in a row

HONG KONG, April 8 (Reuters) - Shanghai SIPG extended their winning start to the Chinese Super League season to five games as Vitor Pereira’s side overcame fatigue to win 2-1 at Henan Jianye on Sunday.

Wang Shenchao and Elkeson scored in the space of three minutes before the break as last year’s runners-up maintained their perfect record despite Ma Xingyu pulling one back in first-half stoppage time.

“This was a difficult game against a tough opponent,” said Pereira, who took over during the close season following the departure of Andre Villas Boas.

“We couldn’t relax when it was 2-1 and our defence was quite active too. There were a lot of physical confrontations in this game but what matters is the three points.

“We had a tough game in the Asian Champions League against Kawasaki Frontale, but here we are with the three points.”

Wang put SIPG in front in the 36th minute and the Brazilian Elkeson doubled the advantage three minutes later as Shanghai maintained their three-point cushion over defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

Fabio Cannavaro’s Evergrande side had an early Gao Lin header to thank for their 1-0 win over Shandong Luneng.

The champions had lost their opening game of the season against cross-city rivals Guangzhou R&F, but have won all four games since.

“We controlled the game for the first 30 to 35 minutes but Luneng showed they are a strong team,” said Cannavaro.

“The scoreline shouldn’t be 1-0. We need to be more ruthless when we have opportunities.

“We created some chances but recently our shooting hasn’t been accurate enough.”

Oscar Romero and Giovanni Moreno scored in Shanghai Shenhua’s 2-0 win over newly-promoted Beijing Renhe, which moves them up to third on 10 points, the same as Beijing Guoan, who drew 1-1 with Tianjin Teda.

Cosmin Olaroiu celebrated a second straight win since taking over from Fabio Capello as head coach of Jiangsu Suning as the 2016 runners-up handed Guangzhou R&F a 2-0 defeat to move the Nanjing-based club into sixth.

Nicolas Gaitan scored one and set up another but the Argentinian was still unable to steer Dalian Yifang to their first win of the season in a 2-2 draw with Chongqing Lifan.

Zhu Xiaogang’s sending off allowed Chongqing Lifan to fight back from two down and earn a share of the points with Bernd Schuster’s team.

Hebei China Fortune bounced back from last week’s loss to Shanghai Shenhua to beat Changchun Yatai 2-1 while Tianjin Quanjian moved up to 10th with Wang Jie scoring the only goal of the game at Guizhou Zhicheng. (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ian Chadband)

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