Win puts Shanghai back on top
Shanghai Shenhua regained top spot in the Chinese Super League after beating defending champions Beijing Guoan 3-2 in a thrilling match at Hongkou Stadium today.
Cameroon striker Jean-Michel Nlend was the hero for the home side, setting up a goal for Dai Lin while scoring himself with a header. Australian brothers Joel and Ryan Griffiths scored a goal apiece for the visitors, but the two goals were not enough to claim a draw for the capital side.
The visitors went ahead just four minutes into the game as Wu Hao headed Darko Matic's free-kick into the path of Joel Griffiths, who volleyed past goalkeeper Wang Dalei. However, Dai and Nlend put the hosts ahead with two goals in two minutes as Shanghai found their form.
With nine minutes on the clock, Nlend smartly passed the ball to Dai, who blasted home from 20 yards, before Nlend headed Feng Renliang's inviting cross into the net to turn the game on its head. Colombia forward Duvier Riascos extended Shanghai's advantage two minutes after the half-hour mark with a superb solo effort that finished with him chipping keeper Yang Zhi.
The defending champions proved more dangerous in the second half as Shanghai opted to focus on defence and protect their two-goal lead. And Beijing saw a ray of hope with 10 minutes remaining when Ryan Griffiths' left-foot volley beat Wang after he had latched onto a pass by Brazilian Erivaldo Antonio Saraiva.
However, Riascos should have locked up the victory for the hosts two minutes later but he stabbed the ball just wide of the post when he was one-on-one with Yang. "We got punished today because we failed to make the most of our many scoring chances," said Beijing manager Hong Yuanshuo. "My players kept threatening the opposing defence throughout the match and I would like to give them credit for their good attitude."
Beijing now have 12 points and are in fifth place in the CSL. "It was a real football game and both sides played very well," said Shanghai's Croatian coach Miroslav Blazevic. "We endured Beijing's onslaught early in the second half and I am extremely happy that we could beat such a strong team."
Shanghai now have 17 points, one more than Shandong Luneng after the former table-toppers were held 2-2 by Changchun Yatai. Elsewhere, Chongqing Lifan suffered a 3-1 defeat to Dalian Shide, Hangzhou Lucheng got the better of Jiangsu Shuntian 2-1, Henan Jianye edged Nanchang Bayi 1-0 and Tianjin Teda defeated Liaoning Zhongyu 2-1.