Dalian suffer rare home loss
Aleksandar Rodic scored the winner midway through the second half as Shanghai Shenhua handed Dalian Shide their first home defeat in the Chinese Super League this season with a 1-0 victory at Dalian Jinzhou Stadium.
The home side dominated the game and created numerous chances that the Dalian strikers were unable to convert and also missed a penalty just before the break before both teams were reduced to 10 men in the last 20 minutes. Dalian had a first sight of goal 18 minutes into the game when Zhao Mingjian headed Zhao Xuri's inviting cross wide from close range.
Zhao Mingjian picked out Zhu Ting at the far post eight minutes later, only to see the forward head the ball just over the bar, but he earned a penalty for Dalian during first-half stoppage time when he was pulled down by Wang Dalei. However, the keeper produced a superb save to deny Zhang Yaokun from the spot.
The hosts continued to threaten after the break and, two minutes before the hour mark, Zhao Mingjian broke clear down the right before clipping an unexpected shot that hit the bar. Shanghai then took the lead in the 67th minute against the run of play.
Bulgarian substitute Valkanov Yanko Hristov dribbled down the left before crossing for Slovenian striker Rodic to tap home. Both sides were then reduced to 10 men in the final 20 minutes with Dalian's Zambia international James Chamanga and Shenhua defender Dai Lin both sent off for reckless challenges.
"We overcame a lot of difficulties today to win the game," said Shenhua manager Jia Xiuquan. "My players held their nerve to maintain the advantage despite our opponents' repeated attacks near the end of the game."
It was only Shenhua's second away victory this season and puts them back into title contention after the top four of Henan Jianye, Changchun Yatai, Beijing Guoan and Shandong Luneng all failed to win. They now trail leaders Henan by two points. "If we could have converted the penalty in the first half, the result would be totally different," said Dalian coach Xu Hong. "Nonetheless, I am responsible for the loss."
Elsewhere, Shenzhen Kingway beat Jiangsu Shuntian 3-0, Changsha Ginde lost 1-0 to Chengdu Blades and Tianjin Teda defeated Qingdao Zhongneng 3-2.