Shanghai keep title hopes alive
Shanghai Shenhua cruised to a 4-0 win over Tianjin Teda to keep their title hopes alive. The runners-up last season are now only four points adrift of current leaders Henan Jianye with six rounds remaining.
Dai Lin drew a first blood for the home side at Hongkou Football Stadium after 13 minutes when he beat goalkeeper Yang Yun with a superb left-footed volley from the edge of the box. The ball had landed at his feet following Damiano Tommasi's failed clearance attempt. Du Wei doubled the advantage for the hosts two minutes after the half-hour mark when he beat Yang with a glancing header inside the area after connecting to Gao Lin's header.
Belarus international Vyachaslau Hleb extended the lead midway through the second-half as he slotted home a rebound from Yang home after the goalkeeper palmed out Gao Lin's 30-yard free-kick. Gao then locked up the victory for Shenhua in stoppage time, latching on to Hleb's through ball to shoot past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.
"We cut the deficit with the front-runners after the landslide victory and Shenhua will keep fighting for the CSL championship this year," said Xi Zhikang, Shenhua's assistant coach.
"We can claim more victories if the team fully play according to the coach's plan. We did well today."
Shenhua now have 34 points, four short of front-runners Henan Jianye.
"We can't blame the players because they did their best today," said Tianjin's team manager Han Zhiqiang. "Our loose defending was exposed today again and we have to fix the problem quickly."
The defeat in Shanghai was Tianjin's third loss in a row. The northern side, who finished in fourth place last season, are tied with Shenhua on points.
Point for Luneng
Defending champions Shandong Luneng shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Guangzhou Guangyao at home, failing to regain top spot in the league. Venezuelan defender Alejandro Cichero opened the scoring for the hosts in the 21st minute before Honduran striker Luis Alfredo Ramirez, the top scorer in the league this season, cancelled the goal out 21 minutes before the final whistle.
Shandong are now tied with Beijing Guoan and Changchun Yatai on points. All three sides are one points adrift of Henan.
Elsewhere, Jiangsu Shuntian overpowered Hangzhou Lucheng 4-1, Chengdu Blades drew 1-1 with Dalian Shide and Changchun Yatain and Qingdao Zhongneng played out a 1-1 draw.
Henan were edged by Shaanxi Baorong 1-0 yesterday in the 24th round of the season.