WATCH: Chinese Super League Matchday 20 – Evergrande Extend Lead

By Jack Douglas and Tom Lamming, July 29, 2019

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Seven-time Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande extended their lead at the top of the table to four points, after Shanghai SIPG and Beijing Guo’an both dropped points. 

Evergrande hammered bottom club Beijing Renhe 3-0, whilst a solitary Franck Ohandza was enough for Henan Jianye to edge past a faltering Beijing Guo’an. 

Marko Arnautovic’s second in as many games wasn’t enough for SIPG to claim all three points, as they were held to a 1-1 draw in Wuhan.

Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 Beijing Renhe

An 11th successive victory for Evergrande puts daylight between them and their closest challengers for the CSL, as their lead at the top is pushed to four points.

Goals from Wei Shihao and a brace from Brazilian superstar Paulinho sealed a comfortable win for Evergrande against a struggling Beijing Renhe side at the Tianhe Stadium.

As Talisca seemingly edges closer to his long-awaited return, the stars are seemingly starting to align for a red hot Evergrande.

It took all of two minutes for the league’s second leakiest defence to open up. Yang Liyu’s whipped ball in from the right side found Wei Shihao in between the two center backs, with the freedom of the penalty area, the forward timed his run to perfection and flicked home a header.

After several missed opportunities, the league leaders deservedly doubled their lead shortly before halftime. 

A wonderfully worked passage of play put the hosts 2-0 up. A backheeled through ball from Yan Dinghao sent the recently acquired Elkeson baring down on the angle of the six-yard box, the Brazilian cut the ball back for his compatriot Paulinho to tap home for the simplest of goals.

The Brazilian’s 12th goal of the season left Renhe staring down the barrel of an eighth successive CSL defeat. 

Whatever Renhe coach Luis García had said to his team at halftime went straight out of the window just three minutes into the second half.

Yang Liyu once again turned provider after Paulinho worked the ball out to the right side. Liyu curled in a low right-footed cross to the front post for the Brazilian international to acutely side foot home a near-post finish. 

Paulinho’s 13th goal of the season and sixth goal in five games all but secured the three points for the Canton team.

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The final score really should have been more comfortable for the hosts, though, with Yang Liyu and Wei Shihao both spurning guilt-edged chances in a matter of seconds. 

Paulinho then thought he had bagged another CSL hat-trick in the 77th minute, as a chipped ball from Zhang Linpeng over the top of the defence found the midfielder. 

But after some nifty footwork left Nizamdin Ependi on his backside, the Brazilian stroked the ball home only to see his effort ruled out for an apparent offside in the build-up.

The win leaves Guangzhou Evergrande four points above Shanghai SIPG and Beijing Guo’an at the top of the CSL, as both faltered on Matchday 20, with Evergrande showing no signs of slowing up.

Watch highlights of the game below (VPN off)

An 11th successive win is a new club record for the Canton outfit, meaning Fabio Cannavaro has achieved something two of his illustrious predecessors arcello Lippi nor Luis Felipe Scolari were unable to achieve. 

On the new record, gaffer Cannavaro commented: “This is my job. As the successor of two world champions Lippi and Scolari, people always compare everything I have done with them. Frankly speaking, we may not be the best team in the league considering the players' strength.”

Best team or not, Evergrande sit on 52 points after just 20 games.

Wuhan Zall 1-1 Shanghai SIPG

It’s now two draws on the bounce for reigning CSL champions Shanghai SIPG after they were held by newly-promoted Wuhan Zall.

Shanggang were perhaps lucky to walk away with a point, after the home side were denied a penalty late on by referee Milorad Mazic.

Jean Evard Kouassi had brilliantly slid a reverse ball into the path of Liu Yun, and the man that had put the oranges ahead went down after a tug from Zhang Yi.

In a game in which the visitors saw a 62% share of the ball, the home side had gone ahead after just four minutes thanks in part to brilliant refereeing.

Charging forward, Brazilian striker Léo Baptistão was sent tumbling under a challenge from Lin Chuangyi, but Milorad Mazic saw the ball had fallen to full-back Huang Bowen on the left flank and played an advantage.

The former Shenhua man crossed in an enticing low delivery to the on-coming Liu Yun who found the far corner with a precise effort to put his side one goal to the good.

Marco Arnautovic equalized for Shanggang mid-way through the first half, as the former West Ham man latched on to an in-swinging Hulk delivery and volleyed past Dong Chunyu. It’s now two in two for the mercurial Austrian after his goal away at Chongqing last time out.

Left-sided center half Yu Hai missed a glorious chance to win it late on for the visitors; seeing his powerful header from an Oscar corner crash off the outside of the post.

Ivorian winger Jean Evard Kouassi, who had looked dangerous all evening for Wuhan, had also hit the woodwork on the stroke off half time against his former club.

Baptistão’s long range shot fell into the path of Kouassi who took it in his stride, before unleashing a vicious effort that hit the bar.

Watch highlights of the game below (VPN off)

Boss Vítor Pereira blamed fatigue for his side not picking up all three points, telling the media: “My players are really tired because of three consecutive away games. We still have several games to play, we will see what will happen."

Shanggang stay second but now slip four points adrift of leaders Guangzhou Evergrande, Wuhan sit in seventh.

Henan Jianye 1-0 Beijing Guo’an

Jonathan Viera’s long term injury is proving to be costly for Guo’an, who succumb to their second successive league defeat; this time at the hands of mid-tabled Henan Jianye.

Franck Ohandza scored the only goal of the night to give the Zhengzhou outfit just their second win in six.

Brazilian Fernando Karanga played a ball towards Cameroonian Ohandza on the left edge of the area. The striker spun brilliantly, leaving Min-jae Kim in his wake, before drilling a low effort past a helpless Hou Sen in the Guo’an goal.

Cédric Bakambu’s torrid time in front of goal continues for the Imperial Guards, after squandering a number of chances to get his side back in the game.

An enticing early delivery from Renato Augusto was completely missed by the Congolese striker in the air, before he was put through one on one midway through the first half. On his favored right foot, the striker saw Wu Yan tip his effort onto the post in a move where he simply had to score.

Just after the break, Yan fumbled what looked what should have been a routine save from a speculative Renato Augusto effort straight into the path of Bakambu who stabbed an effort high and wide from six yards out.

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Guo’an full-back Gang Wang missed a glorious chance to salvage a point late on. Lei Tenglong miscued a header from a corner which inadvertently fell into the path of Wang, but the right-back, who can also play up front, sliced an effort wide from four yards out.

Christian Bassogog had the chance to add some gloss to the score-line in the dying embers of the game. Through one on one with Hou Sen, and with Fernando Karanga screaming for it to his left for a simple tap in, the striker opted to try and emulate his fellow Cameroonian Ohandzha, but saw his tame effort collected easily by the Guo’an stopper.

Watch highlights of the game below (VPN off)

An FA Cup defeat midweek means that it’s now three losses on the bounce for Roger Schmidt’s side, something the German puts down to a lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

“We could have got the draw. I think our performance in the penalty area is still somewhat lacking. So unfortunately, I need to congratulate my opponent for the third time in a week.”

Guo’an’s miserable week sees them slip to four points behind Evergrande; level on points with SIPG in second. Henan rise to the dizzying heights of ninth.

Elsewhere

Hebei CFFC boosted their survival hopes as a brace from Brazilian striker Marcao helped them on their way to a 3-0 win over Chongqing Lifan.

Dalian Yifang got back to winning ways in the league with a 1-0 win over Shandong Luneng courtesy of Emmanuel Boateng’s eighth goal of the season.

Shanghai Shenhua was on the correct end of an eight-goal thriller at Hongkou. Korean striker Kim Shin-Wook notched a hat-trick making it six goals in four games for the big striker since making the move from Jeonbuk earlier this month. It finished Shenhua 5-3 Guangzhou R&F.

Meanwhile, Tianjin Tianhai recorded a vital win in the Tianjin derby. A solitary goal from Yao Junsheng was enough to record Tianhai’s first win in 12 CSL games, taking them out of the bottom two at Shenzhen’s expense.

A brace from Jiangsu Suning's Alex Teixeira sent Shenzhen to a third successive defeat as their run of 12 games without a win drops them into the bottom two.

Screenshot-2019-07-29-at-12.46.05.pngImage via Sky Sports



WATCH: Chinese Super League Matchday 19 – Evergrande Go Top

[Cover image via @guangzhouevergrande on Instagram]

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