Shenhua held as Henan rallies

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Henan Jianye in the 13th round of the Chinese Super League match in Zhengzhou yesterday.
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Fernando Karanga scores Henan Jianye’s second goal — the equalizer — against Shanghai Greenland Shenhua during their Chinese Super League match in Zhengzhou yesterday.

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Henan Jianye in the 13th round of the Chinese Super League match in Zhengzhou yesterday — the second round of matches after the CSL’s two-month break for the World Cup.

Zhang Lu and Fredy Guarin gave Shenhua the lead twice, but Fernando Karanga’s brace made sure that Henan had the share of points from its home match.

Beijing Guo’an’s 3-2 victory over Tianjin Quanjian yesterday propelled it to the top of the CSL table on 28 points, one ahead of second-placed Shandong Luneng. Shanghai SIPG’s Saturday match against Guangzhou Evergrande was postponed due to Shanghai’s Typhoon Ampil alert. The match is expected to be played in mid-August.

In Zhenghou, Demba Ba, who made a return to Wu Jingui’s team last month — two years after the Senegal striker broke his left leg in a derby against SIPG which was followed by a surgery — led the frontline for Shenhua against Henan yesterday. Brazil midfielder Oscar replaced captain Giovanni Moreno for the match. Also in the line-up was Colombia midfielder Guarin.

Ba — who scored the only goal in Shenhua’s 1-0 victory over Tianjin Teda last Wednesday — had a great one-on-one chance against Henan goalie Wu Yan 16 minutes into kickoff, but his shot was slightly off-target.

In the 24th, Shenhua midfielder Zhang Lu headed in a goal on Cao Yunding’s assist. Henan’s Brazilian duo teamed up to equalize for the hosts just six minutes later. Karanga found the back of the net, also with a header, from a corner by Ivo.

Henan scored a goal five minutes into the second half, which was ruled offside. Cao’s goal in the 53rd was also controversially ruled offside — a slow motion review showed that Ba was in an off-side position in Henan’s box, but did not take part in the attack which led to the goal.

Guarin gave Shenhua the lead again in the 70th when he got past the defense of Henan’s Cameroon striker Christian Bassogog. The joy did not last long, however, as seven minutes later, Karanga was left unmarked in Shenhua’s box during a counterattack and the Brazilian volleyed the ball into the net to complete his brace.

Shenhua now lies joint fourth along with Guangzhou Evergrande and Jiangsu on 21 points. SIPG is third on 24 points.

In other matches yesterday, Guizhou Hengfeng drew 1-1 with Guangzhou R&F while Hebei China Fortune and Jiangsu Suning played out a goalless draw.

Meanwhile, former Portugal coach Paulo Bento has been fired from his position at the helm of CSL side Chongqing Lifan, the club announced yesterday.

“From today, Paulo Bento is no longer the coach of Chongqing Lifan,” the club said in a statement. “We thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best for the future.”

Hao Haitao, one of Bento’s assistants, has been named interim coach with Chongqing sitting 12th in the 16-team CSL.

Bento, who was appointed in December, endured a six-game losing streak that saw Chongqing slip towards the relegation zone and exit the Chinese FA Cup before it beat Tianjin Teda on Saturday in the 49-year-old’s final game in charge.

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