(Reuters) - Shanghai SIPG’s unbeaten start to the Chinese Super League (CSL) season ended with a 2-0 defeat by Hebei CFFC, while Guangzhou Evergrande maintained their grip on top spot in Group A with a 2-1 win over Guangzhou R&F in the ninth round of fixtures.
Wang Qiuming opened the scoring for Hebei on the stroke of half-time before Brazilian forward Marcao doubled their advantage deep into second-half stoppage time.
Despite the defeat, Shanghai SIPG remain at the top of Group B with 20 points, while Hebei are fourth with 14.
Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande needed a late goal from former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho to edge city rivals Guangzhou R&F 2-1.
After a goalless first half, Huang Zhengyu gave Guangzhou R&F a shock lead in the 62nd minute before Anderson Talisca equalised for Fabio Cannavaro’s side.
Paulinho then capitalised on an error from Guangzhou R&F goalkeeper Han Jiaqi to score an injury-time winner for Guangzhou Evergrande, who stay five points clear of Jiangsu Suning at the top of Group A.
Jiangsu defeated Shandong Luneng 1-0 with former Italy international Eder scoring the only goal of the game.
Elsewhere, Shanghai Shenhua were held to a 0-0 draw by Shenzhen FC, while Shijiazhuang Ever Bright defeated Qingdao Huanghai 1-0, with Chinese midfielder Chen Pu getting on the scoresheet.
Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Pro thumped Henan Jianye 4-0, with Venezuelan forward Salomon Rondon scoring one goal and assisting two.
Rondon’s sixth goal of the season gave Dalian an early lead and the 30-year-old then turned provider, setting up Marek Hamsik and Sam Larsson.
An own goal by defender Ke Zhao was the final nail in the coffin for Henan, who remain at the bottom of Group A after losing four of their last five matches.
Group B’s bottom side Tianjin Teda’s winless run continued with a 2-1 loss to Chongqing Lifan when Kardec Alan scored in the opening minute before Adrian Mierzejewski dribbled past four defenders to double the lead in the 22nd minute.
Last year’s runners-up Beijing Guoan were 2-0 up at half time against Wuhan Zall, with league top scorer Cedric Bakambu scoring his eighth goal of the season.
However, they were held to a 2-2 draw as Leo Baptistao and Jean Evrard Kouassi scored within two minutes of each other in the second half.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jason Neely
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