Shenhua suffers from last-gasp strike

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, September 3, 2018
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Defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande edged Shanghai Greenland Shenhua 2-1 in the 21st round of the Chinese Super League yesterday thanks to a last-minute goal by Under23 striker Yang Liyu.

Shenhua lost its previous two CSL matches, conceding seven goals in the process. Senegal striker Demba Ba missed the Guangzhou trip because of injury, while defender Bai Jiajun was absent suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Evergrande had a strong start in Guangzhou's heavy rain, but the visitors came closest to scoring when Shenhua striker Zhu Jianrong received a left wing pass from teammate Fredy Guarin in the 15th minute and sent the ball into the far corner of Evergrande's goal, though it was later ruled offside.

The score was changed six minutes into the second half. Shenhua was given a penalty after Evergrande defender Li Xuepeng handled in the box. Guarin stepped up to the spot and completed the task.

It didn't take Fabio Cannavaro's team too long to cancel Shenhua's advantage. Evergrande captain Gao Lin was left unmarked in Shenhua's box during the host's attack in the 57th minute, who equalized into an open goal from teammate Yu Hanchao's assist. Yu almost gave Evergrande the lead in the 78th minute when his shot hit Shenhua's post.

A draw would have been acceptable for Shenhua, but the team paid for their slack marking in the box, allowing Evergrande's 21-year-old striker Yang Liyu to score a header in the first minute of extratime.

Evergrande is now third in the standing on 42 points following Beijing Guo'an (45) and Shanghai SIPG (43). Shenhua is in ninth place on 26 points.

In Saturday's match, Shanghai SIPG was held to a 1-1 draw by Hebei China Fortune in Langfang. CSL top scorer Wu Lei gave the visitors the lead in the 37th minute with a header following an assist by Chen Binbin.

But Hebei equalized before the end of the half. SIPG defender Yu Hai fouled Hebei's Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi in the box. Referee Ai Kun awarded a penalty after a VAR review and Lavezzi found the back of the net from the spot.

SIPG head coach Vitor Pereira said his team "didn't deserve a victory" and three points.

"It was a fair result. The team should have played better. It was not the kind of performance we were expecting. There is problem and we need to solve it," the Portuguese said at the post-match press conference.

In the other weekend matches, Jiangsu Suning drew 1-1 with Tianjin Quanjian. Dalian Yifang moved out of the relegation zone by beating 4th placed Shandong Luneng 4-3. Guangzhou R&F overcame Tianjin Teda 2-0. Guizhou Hengfeng drew 1-1 with Beijing Renhe to remain at the bottom of the standing with 12 points from 21 matches.

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