HONG KONG, Oct 7 (Reuters) - China international Wu Lei scored twice as Shanghai SIPG restored their four-point gap at the summit of the Chinese Super League with a 5-0 thrashing of bottom-of-the-table Guizhou Zhicheng on Sunday .
Wu was joined on the scoresheet by Wang Shenchao, Hulk and Elkeson and the win keeps SIPG clear of seven-time defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande with just five games remaining as Vitor Pereira’s side moved a step closer to their first league title.
“It was a very good game for us, especially in the second half, and we played very well,” said SIPG assistant coach Felipe Almeida.
“It wasn’t an easy game, despite scoring five goals. Guizhou worked very hard, especially in the first half, but fortunately we were back to our best in the second half.”
Wang opened the scoring for SIPG midway through the first period before four goals in the second half saw Pereira’s side cruise to victory.
Wu doubled his team’s advantage two minutes after the restart with Elkeson adding the third five minutes later and, in the 54th minute, Wu claimed his second and SIPG’s fourth before Hulk put the seal on the win seven minutes from time.
Beijing Guoan maintained their pursuit of a place in next year’s Asian Champions League with a 3-0 win over Guangzhou R&F that moved Roger Schmidt’s side level on points with third-placed Shandong Luneng.
Cedric Bakamabu scored twice with Jonathan Viera also on target as the capital-based club moved on to 48 points from 25 games.
Earlier in the weekend, Guangzhou Evergrande kept the pressure on the leaders with a comfortable 3-0 win over Chris Coleman’s Hebei China Fortune.
Gao Lin gave the champions the lead with just two minutes on the clock and further goals from Alan Carvalho and Yu Hanchao made the points safe for Fabio Cannavaro’s side.
Shandong remain in third place, 10 points behind SIPG, following their 3-2 win over a Tianjin Quanjian side playing their first game since the departure of coach Paulo Sousa on Thursday.
The defeat was Tianjin’s fourth in a row in the league and leaves last year’s third-place finishers five points above the relegation zone in 13th position after Diego Tardelli’s penalty secured the win for Shandong.
Dalian Yifang continued their climb clear of the drop zone with a 3-1 win over Jiangsu Suning courtesy of a pair of goals from Nyasha Mushekwi while Beijing Renhe handed Henan Jianye a 1-0 defeat.
Fredy Guarin’s spot-kick earned Shanghai Shenhua a 1-0 win over Chongqing Lifan and Tianjin Teda and Changchu Yatai shared the points at the end of a 3-3 draw thanks to Frank Acheampong’s late leveller for Tianjin. (Reporting by Michael Church, editing Pritha Sarkar)