Second-half strikes by Jean Michel Nlend and Duvier Riascos handed Shanghai Shenhua all three points as the two-time champions beat archrivals Dalian Shide 2-0 at Jinzhou Stadium in the sixth round of Chinese Super League today.
Shanghai moved level with Shandong Luneng on points following the away win, with reigning champions Beijing Guoan, who have a game in hand, two points short of the leading pair.
James Chamanga thought he earned a penalty for the home side after 10 minutes when he was pushed down by Chen Lei, only to see the referee wave the play on. Former South Korea international striker Ahn Jung-hwan was causing all sorts of problems for the Shanghai defence while Dalian twice came close before half-time through Zhu Ting and Li Xuepeng, but neither could get his shot on target.
Their profligacy was punished when Nlend opened the scoring two minutes after the break, latching onto a long cross before clipping the ball past goalkeeper Zhang Chong from 10 yards. Riascos then extended the lead for Shanghai 17 minutes before the final whistle, beating Zhang with a low shot after dribbling past two Dalian defenders.
"My players gave all they had today to win this match," said Shanghai boss Miroslav Blazevic. "Think this was a superb victory for us."
"It was a good lesson to my players. Some of the youngster had overestimated their own ability," said Dalian manager Xu Ming.
Han Peng's brace wasn't enough to earn maximum points as 2008 CSL champions Shandong were held to a 3-3 draw by Jiangsu Shuntian. Meanwhile, Shenzhen Kingway shared a 1-1 draw with Henan Jianye, Nanchang Bayi and Tianjin Teda played out a 2-2 draw and Changchun Yatai defeated Shaanxi Baorong 2-0. Beijing Guoan, two points adrift of Shandong and Shanghai, play Qingdao Zhongneng tomorrow.