HONG KONG (Reuters) - Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjian moved into third place in the Chinese Super League standings after two goals from Zhao Xuri sealed a 3-0 win over Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday.
Victory against Gustavo Poyet’s team ensured Tianjin, last season’s second division champions, jumped above Hebei CFFC into the qualifying spots for next year’s Asian Champions League.
“Although Shenhua are going through some difficult moments, their line-up has a lot of strong players, so I kept telling my players to maintain their focus and determination,” said Cannavaro.
“We answered this challenge with our performance. The match was very enjoyable, but we have to forget that we won as soon as possible because we haven’t achieved anything significant.”
Zhao struck twice in nine first half minutes to put Tianjin in control against a Shenhua side that saw Carlos Tevez return after an injury enforced layoff.
But the Argentine was unable to prevent his team slipping to 10th in the standings as Alexandre Pato sealed a fourth straight win for Tianjin with their third six minutes after halftime.
Cannavaro’s team sit nine points behind league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande, who had a late goal from Zou Zheng to thank for their 2-1 win over Shandong Luneng on Saturday that ensured Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side stay one point ahead of Shanghai SIPG before the teams’ meeting next week. “It was a very entertaining game and both sides were outstanding in their tactical execution,” said Scolari.
“I appreciate my own team’s performance, but I also think very highly of Shandong. We played well today and every player did their best. We deserved to win.”
Shanghai SIPG welcomed Wu Lei and Hulk back from suspension and both scored after Elkeson had given Andre Villas-Boas’s team the lead in their 3-1 win over Yanbian Funde.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Hebei CFFC slipped to fourth as a result of a 2-1 loss to Chongqing Lifan, while Beijing Guoan moved up to sixth as Roger Schmidt secured a second win in a row since taking over at the capital club with a 2-0 victory over Guizhou Zhicheng.
Fabio Capello, meanwhile, continues his wait for a first league win since taking charge at Jiangsu Suning last month after the Italian’s team had to wait until the fifth minute of injury time before Roger Martinez levelled against Tianjin Teda.
Henan Jianye picked up their second win in a row, 2-1 against a Liaoning Whowin side that slipped to a sixth straight defeat, while Guangzhou R&F’s struggles also continued.
Dragan Stojkovic’s team, who led the standings early in the season, lost 3-2 against Changchun Yatai with Odion Ighalo netting the winner a minute from time to leave Guangzhou with only one league win since the start of April.
Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Rex Gowar