Oscar show as SIPG stays on top

A goal and an assist from Oscar gave Shanghai SIPG a 2-0 victory over Jiangsu Suning in the 11th round of the Chinese Super League last night.

A goal and an assist from Oscar gave Shanghai SIPG a 2-0 victory over Jiangsu Suning in the 11th round of the Chinese Super League last night, keeping the club at the top of the standings before the league enters a two-month break.

Vitor Pereira’s team has shifted focus back to the domestic league after being ousted from the AFC Champions League by Japan’s Kashima Antlers in the round of 16 last week.

Taking on Jiangsu, which was just a point behind, at Shanghai Stadium, SIPG had Brazilian duo Hulk and Oscar leading the attack alongside Odil Ahmedov.

The first half was listless except for SIPG defender He Guan scoring a goal in the 25th minute, which was ruled offside.

The score changed two minutes into the second half when Oscar’s pass from the edge of the box found an in-position Wu Lei in front of goal, and the latter scored with a header.

Oscar sealed the victory for the hosts in the last minute with his fourth league goal of the year.

SIPG had a strong start to the season before showing weariness amid a packed match schedule. The victory was the team’s first in five CSL matches.

Both SIPG and Shandong Luneng have collected 23 points from the first 11 rounds. SIPG tops the standings on goal difference. Beijing Guo’an is third on 22 points, followed by Jiangsu (19) and defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande (18).

Earlier, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua lost 1-2 to Tianjin Quanjian, with Tianjin’s Brazil striker Alexandre Pato assisting Su Yuanjie for the first goal three minutes after the break.

Wang Wei equalized for Shenhua in the 78th before Pato claimed the winner three minutes before the final whistle.

Shenhua has been racked by injury problems, which saw captain Giovanni Moreno missing yesterday. The Colombian got the club’s permission to take early leave so as to join his national team and fight for a spot in the final 23-member World Cup squad. He is already part of the 35-member provisional list announced last week.

Shenhua is now seventh in the CSL standings on 17 points.

In an afternoon match, defending champion Guangzhou slumped to a 0-2 defeat at newcomer Beijing Renhe.

The seven-time CSL champion had also failed to win in the previous three rounds, and is now expected to shake-up its foreign legion during the summer transfer window.

Another CSL newcomer Dalian Yifang secured its second victory of season, beating Guizhou Hengfeng 2-1 yesterday.

Meanwhile, former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has left Hebei China Fortune following the team’s 2-1 victory over Chongqing Lifan on Saturday.

“As a result of friendly negotiations, we have reached an agreement that Mr Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti will be relieved of his duties as manager of Hebei China Fortune FC,” the club said in an announcement on Saturday evening.

Reports suggest that Pellegrini will likely replace David Moyes as West Ham United manager. The Chilean joined the CSL side in August 2016, and guided the team to fourth place in the CSL table last year.

The CSL will now take a two-month break to make way for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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