Rampant SIPG tops; Shenhua grabs first win

BOTH Shanghai teams emerged victorious in the third round of the Chinese Super League yesterday.

BOTH Shanghai teams emerged victorious in the third round of the Chinese Super League yesterday.

Shanghai SIPG came back from 0-2 down to beat Guangzhou R&F 5-2 in a roller-coaster in the capital of southern Guangdong Province. Wu Lei was in the spotlight, scoring four goals. Hulk added another as SIPG pocketed its third straight win the CSL.

“I am extremely happy with the team’s performance,” SIPG coach Vitor Pereira said. “We had fast players upfront, which allowed Wu Lei to shift between the center and wing positions to seek opportunities.”

Pereira rested Elkeson and started with Odil Ahmedov. Midfielder Chen Binbin, 19, was also in the starting line-up to partner Hulk and Oscar.

A 4th-minute goal by Eran Zahavi and a header by Xiao Zhi in the 9th put R&F 2-0 ahead.

But the visitors reacted in style. Wu scored on Oscar’s assist in the 17th. He then stirred R&F’s defense and found the net in the 27th and 29th minutes to complete a hat-trick in the first half itself.

Hulk’s 53rd-minute goal enlarged SIPG’s advantage and 20 minutes later, Wu claimed his fourth goal on Hulk’s assist, beating R&F goalie Cheng Yuelei in a one-one-one chance.

R&F head coach Dragan Stojkovic said that his team had lost its own style and started to fire long balls after a “dream start”. The Serb was also not happy with the team’s defense.

The last time a Chinese player scored four goals in the CSL was back in 2006 when Shandong’s Li Jinyu found the net four times during a 5-0 victory over Liaoning.

Wu is the leading scorer in the CSL this term with seven goals.

“Due to the recent tight schedule, our team was tired, and did not concentrate fully at the beginning,” said Wu. “But we managed to fight back. We studied our opponents well during preparation, and I was slotted in a proper position to look for chances behind the opponents’ defense.”

SIPG is now joint top of the CSL standings with Shandong Luneng on a full 9 points from 3 rounds.

In Guiyang, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua edged Guizhou Hengfeng 1-0 for the team’s first victory in 2018 in all competitions. Guizhou is led by former Shenhua manager Gregorio Manzano.

The goal came in the 68th when captain Giovanni Moreno, who has been called into the Colombian national team, headed towards goal on a pass from Oscar Romero. The ball hit the post before bouncing into the net.

Shenhua is now 10th in the standing on 4 points.

In other CSL matches at the weekend, Teda beat Quanjian 3-2 in a Tianjin derby; defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande edged Henan Jianye 1-0; Chongqing Lifan thumped Jiangsu Suning 4-1; Shandong overcame Hebei China Fortune 2-1; and Beijing Guo’an beat newcomer Dalian Yifang 3-0.

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