HONG KONG (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande’s remarkable Chinese Super League title-winning run continued on Sunday when Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side notched up a 5-1 win over Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng that gave them a record seventh consecutive crown.
The victory, coupled with Shanghai SIPG’s 2-1 loss to Guangzhou R&F, ensured Evergrande claimed the title with two matches remaining in the 30-game season as Scolari collected his third Chinese Super League win.
The Brazilian, who is expected to leave Guangzhou when his contract expires at the end of November, joins Marcello Lippi as a three-time winner of the Chinese title.
Scolari was missing from the sidelines on Sunday as he began a three-match ban for questioning refereeing decisions. His assistant, Paulo Turra, said: “This year has been the most difficult year, we’ve had lots of ups and downs.
“In the end, we have won the title and it is a great thing that deserves congratulations.
“Among the biggest leagues in the world, there are probably only two teams who have won a league seven years in a row and they are (Ligue 1 side) Lyon and Evergrande. Chinese fans should be proud of that.
“The success should be attributed to the owner and the club first, then the management team and the best home stadium in Asia, including all the fans who follow us for our away games. I also want to thank the head coach.”
Guangzhou made a rapid start to the game and goals from Gao Lin and Alan Carvalho had the two-times Asian champions two goals up inside 17 minutes. Although Wang Fan pulled one back for Guizhou just before the half-hour mark, Evergrande moved further ahead in the second half.
Du Wei’s own goal restored Guangzhou’s two-goal cushion before further goals from Yu Hanchao and Muriqui ensured the celebrations could begin in earnest at the Tianhe Stadium.
Guangzhou are now nine points clear of SIPG with two games remaining after Andre Villas-Boas’s team slipped to a defeat against Guangzhou R&F.
Jiang Jihong put R&F in front with five minutes on the clock before Eran Zahavi claimed his 25th goal of the season four minutes into the second half for Dragan Stojkovic’s team.
Hulk pulled one back for SIPG on the hour mark but it was not enough to lift Shanghai, who are guaranteed to finish second and join Guangzhou in next year’s Asian Champions League.
Shandong Luneng’s 3-1 win over Liaoning Whowin on Friday improved the chances of Felix Magath’s team to finish in the top three and qualify for the continental championship while condemning Liaoning to life in the second division next season.
They will be joined there by Yanbian Funde, who are destined to finish in the bottom two after losing 2-1 to Henan Jianye after Tianjin Teda beat Beijing Guoan 2-0.
Tianjin Quanjian strengthened their Asian Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win over third-placed Hebei CFFC.
Shanghai Shenhua were held to a 1-1 draw by Chongqing Lifan and Changchun Yatai defeated Jiangsu Suning 3-1.
Editing by Clare Fallon