10-man SIPG stays top as Shenhua also wins away

BOTH Shanghai teams pocketed away victories in the fifth round of Chinese Super League games yesterday.

BOTH Shanghai teams pocketed away victories in the fifth round of Chinese Super League games yesterday.

Shanghai SIPG beat Henan Jianye 2-1 to maintain its lead atop the standings on 15 full points from five matches. Shanghai Greenland Shenhua overcame CSL newcomer Beijing Renhe 2-0, despite missing Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins, who underwent knee surgery in London.

Guangzhou Evergrande edged Shandong Luneng 1-0 thanks to a 4th-minute goal by Gao Lin. Fabio Cannavaro’s team is now second on 12 points.

In Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan Province, SIPG defender Wang Shenchao scored the opener for the CSL leader in the 36th minute on an assist by Wu Lei.

Three minutes later, Henan paid for its slack defending in the box again as Elkeson doubled SIPG’s lead with a header.

With a two-goal advantage, SIPG players lost concentration in the closing part of the first half, allowing midfielder Ma Xingyu to pull one back for the hosts in the 46th to go into the break 1-2 down.

SIPG played the last 20 minutes a man short after substitute midfielder Zhang Yi was shown a direct red card in the 70th for a rough tackle on Henan’s Spanish defender Juan Cala. Vitor Pereira’s team tightened its formation for the rest of the match and goalkeeper Yan Junling ensured that the final score stayed 2-1.

“This was a very difficult away match,” defender Wang said after the match. “We didn’t control the ball well in the first half despite scoring two goals. But the team showed good spirit when we were a man down and managed to maintain the result.”

In an afternoon match, Oscar Romero and Giovanni Moreno scored in each half to give Shenhua a 2-0 victory over Renhe in the capital Beijing. It was Shenhua’s third successive win in the CSL.

Romero appeared in the starting line-up as a replacement for Martins, who twisted his knee in Shenhua’s AFC Champions League match against Kashima Antlers last week.

“Romero did not play for long, but maintained good form in front of the goal,” Shenhua manager Wu Jingui said, praising the Paraguayan. “But he is not at his best yet. Given more time, he will help the team more.”

Shenhua dedicated the victory to Martins, whose knee surgery early yesterday was announced as successful. According to the club, the surgery to fix his knee joint tendon lasted for 1 hour and 45 minutes. His surgeon will make a recovery plan along with Shenhua’s medical team.

Shenhua is now fourth in the CSL table alongside Beijing Guo’an on 10 points.

In a Saturday match, newcomer Dalian Yifang let slip a two-goal lead at home to Chongqing Lifan, leaving Bernd Schuster still looking for his first victory since taking over last month.

The match ended 2-2, with Schuster describing the result as “regrettable” though the German said he saw many positives and his team was on the right track.

In other matches, Jiangsu Suning beat Guangzhou R&F 2-0; Hebei China Fortune edged Changchun Yatai 2-1; and Guo’an drew 1-1 with Tianjin Teda.

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