Martinez salvages draw for Beijing
Emil Martinez's last-gasp strike helped Beijing Guoan secure a 2-2 draw at Henan Jianye to keep the capital side's title hopes alive. In the top-of-the-table match at Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium, the home side set their stall out for a victory over Beijing, who had one game in hand over their opponents. However, the visiting side opened the scoring just 16 minutes into the game thanks to a good exchange of play between Australian brothers Joel and Ryan Griffiths.
Ryan Griffiths outran the Henan defenders to latch onto Joel Griffiths' through pass and slotted into the net before onrushing goalkeeper Zeng Cheng had the chance to avert the danger. Beijing were proving more dangerous as they made the most of Henan's suspect defending with Wang Ke and Yan Xiangchuang hitting the post during the first half.
South Korea international Song Tae-lim equalised 12 minutes after the restart, rising higher than defender Zhang Yonghai to head home He Bin's cross from the right. The hosts continued to threaten with a relentless onslaught and Brazilian Leandro Netto De Macedo put Henan in front three minutes later, tapping home a rebound after Lu Feng's left-footed curling shot hit the post.
Beijing intensified their attack as coach Hong Yuanshuo substituted Honduran international Martinez for Joel Griffiths six minutes after the hour mark. And, in stoppage time, Martinez fired past goalkeeper Zeng after Du Wenhui's 40-yard free-kick was deflected into his path inside the penalty area.
"I am thankful to my players because they displayed a fighting spirit when we were one goal down," said Henan manager Tang Yaodong. "But it was a pity that we failed to accomplish a comeback victory."
Henan remain top of the table after 27 rounds with 42 points, one more than Beijing who have one game in hand and could leapfrog the central Chinese side if they triumph at Tianjin Teda on Wednesday.
"It was a game of contrasting halves," said Beijing coach Hong. "We dominated the first half, while Henan proved more dangerous in the second half. It was still a thriller in the CSL."
Elsewhere, defending champions Shandong Luneng shared the spoils with Chongqing Lifan 1-1, Lu Zheng scoring a last-minute equaliser to earn the three-time Chinese champions a valuable point. Shandong are now one point adrift of the front-runners Henan.
Finally, Guangzhou Guangyao drew 1-1 with Changchun Yatai and Hangzhou Lucheng edged Shaanxi Baorong 1-0.