There was mixed success for Shanghai teams in the Chinese Super League on Saturday.
Shanghai SIPG extended its consecutive winning streak to six after beating Hebei China Fortune 2-0 on Saturday, while Shanghai Greenland Shenhua held defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande to a 2-2 draw even without recuperating Nigerian international Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins..
Vitor Pereira’s SIPG is enjoying a remarkable start to the 2018 season and is the only unbeaten team after six rounds of CSL matches.
At Shanghai Stadium yesterday, SIPG almost gave Hebei the advantage after goalkeeper Yan Junling fouled Gervinho in the box half an hour into the kick-off. Hebei’s Ezequiel Lavezzi stepped up to take the spot kick but Yan saved the Argentine’s shot.
There was another penalty in the closing minutes of the first half, but this time it was for SIPG. Oscar was fouled by Hebei defender Ren Hang and Hulk made it 1-0 for the home side going into the break.
Eight minutes into the second half, Hulk missed an opportunity to double the lead after his shot hit the post.
SIPG’s second goal came in the 77th minute. Wu Lei’s one-on-one shot was blocked by Hebei keeper Yang Cheng, but the ball fell back to Wu, who headed in this time for his ninth CSL goal this season.
“It was a good match since we played according to a plan,” Wu said after the match. “The first goal gave the team a good mind-set. We want to keep the winning streak going.”
The victory kept SIPG on top of the CSL table with 18 points, five more than second-placed Guangzhou Evergrande, which took on SIPG’s city rival Greenland Shenhua at Hongkou Football Stadium.
Greenland Shenhua has been dependent on its foreign contingent for goals this season with all its eight goals in previous five matches netted by foreign players. After losing Obafemi Martins, who underwent a knee surgery in London this week, Shenhua’s local attackers took over on Saturday.
Striker Zhu Jianrong gave Shenhua the lead from a corner by Fredy Guarin in the 58th minute. But Ricardo Goulart and Nemanja Gudelj fired Evergrande into lead with quick goals in the 66th and 68th minute.
Four minutes later, Oscar Moremo’s goal was blocked by Evergrande keeper Zeng Cheng but it fell in the path of Shenhua’s Under-23 defender Xu Yougang, who scored his first goal for the club.
“Evergrande is a stronger team than us. They kept a cool mind after conceding the first goal,” Greenland Shenhua manager Wu Jingui said after the match. “But our players worked hard and the result was satisfying enough.”
Greenland Shenhua is third in the Chinese Super League with 11 points, but Wu is struggling with fitness issues in the squad. Apart from Martins, regular starters Cao Yunding, Li Jianbin and Bi Jinhao are all out with injuries.
In Saturday’s other match, Tianjin Quanjian drew 1-1 with Jiangsu Suning.