SIPG falls at Dalian as Ba caught up in racism row

Shanghai SIPG lost 0-1 at Dalian Yifang in the 16th round of the Chinese Super League yesterday, missing the chance to climb to the top of the standings.

Shanghai SIPG lost 0-1 at Dalian Yifang in the 16th round of the Chinese Super League yesterday, missing the chance to climb to the top of the standings.

Manager Vitor Pereira was extremely upset with the goings-on in the match, saying it was “not like a football match”.

The match was frequently interrupted due to fouls, with referee Ma Li dishing out a total of six yellow cards (four to Dalian and two to SIPG.)

The tension even extended to the post-match press conference. A Shanghai reporter asked Dalian manager Bernd Schuster whether it was a strategy to allow his players to commit so many fouls. The reporter was soon involved in an heated exchange of words with local stadium staff and was asked to leave the press conference room.

Pereira’s team trashed league newcomer Dalian 8-0 in the corresponding home fixture in the first round in March.

At Dalian Sports Center Stadium yesterday, both sides managed to create chances in the first half without scoring.

SIPG’s best chance came in the 28th minute when Dalian goalie Zhang Chong blocked a shot but failed to catch the ball which fell into the path of SIPG striker Wu Lei, whose shot missed the target.

Tempers frayed amid the unusual heat in Dalian and roughhouse tactics. Dalian’s Qin Sheng and Zhu Xiaogang each received a yellow card within 18 minutes after kickoff. SIPG goalkeeper coach Ian Walker and one of Dalian’s assistant coaches were sent off from the bench in the 38th for sparking a dispute.

Dalian’s goal came five minutes into the second half. Yannick Carrasco’s shot from inside the box cut through SIPG’s defense before falling into the back of the net.

Pereira used up all three substitutions with 20 minutes still remaining but the visitors could not find the equalizer.

“I don’t want to comment on the match,” he said. “Today what happened to me was not a football match. It was impossible to win this match or get points.”

“I can’t remember a match like this in my career,” added the Portuguese.

Dalian’s German manager Schuster said his team played hard but not rough and deserved the victory. He described the encounter as a “normal match”.

In another Sunday match, league top-two Beijing Guo’an and Shandong Luneng drew 1-1 in the capital. Beijing now leads the 16-team CSL table on 33 points, followed by Shandong (32), SIPG (30) and Guangzhou Evergrande (30). Evergrande beat city rival R&F 4-2.

SIPG’s next match is against city rival Greenland Shenhua — the second league derby of the year — at Shanghai Stadium on Saturday. SIPG won the first clash 2-0 at Hongkou Football Stadium in March.

In a Saturday match, 10-men Shenhua was held to a 1-1 draw by Changchun Yatai in Jilin Province, a match marred by claims of racism.

According to Shenhua manager Wu Jingui, Shenhua striker Demba Ba was “racially insulted with words” by a Changchun player on the pitch, leaving the Senegalese extremely angry.

“There are many players of different skin colors in the CSL, and we should respect every single opponent and allow no discrimination,” Wu said at the post-match press conference. “I’m still unable to calm down after what happened today. I feel very sorry about the lack of respect to a player.”

Shenhua spokesman Ma Yue revealed that a Changchun player kept saying “you black” to Ba late in the match.

Ba and Changchun midfielder Zhang Li tangled in the 77th after Ba clashed with another rival player when challenging for a header. Ba exchanged words with Zhang and reacted furiously minutes later. The two had to be separated by teammates and technical staff.

Shenhua’s Fredy Guarin missed the match due to injury. Cao Yunding scored for Shenhua in the 30th on an assist from Oscar Romero. Captain Giovanni Moreno twisted his ankle when battling for the ball in the 35th.

Changchun’s equalizer came in the 70th — the result of teamwork by its three foreign players. Adrian Mierzejewski’s freekick entered Shenhua’s box before Nemanja Pejcinovic headed the ball to the center, allowing Odion Ighalo to finish the scoring.

Shenhua is now sixth on 23 points.

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