Salmeron hat-trick seals Shanghai win
Argentinian forward Luis Salmeron scored a hat-trick and had a hand in an own goal as Shanghai Shenhua overpowered Chengdu Blades 4-1 in the ninth round of Chinese Super League at Shanghai Hongkou Stadium.
In the only contest of the domestic league today, Salmeron headed the hosts in front after just nine minutes before adding a second two minutes before the half-hour mark. The Argentinian striker's header three minutes after the interval caused Peng Xinli to score an own goal before he netted his third goal of the game midway through the second half. Peng scored a consolation goal one minute later.
The visitors had started brightly when Australian striker Adam Kwasnik headed down Zhang Yuan's cross for Fan Peipei to fire past goalkeeper Wang Dalei in the sixth minute, but Fan had strayed offside and the effort was ruled out.
Salmeron opened the scoring three minutes later, heading Jiang Kun's corner into the net. Fan robbed the ball of Dai Lin and made a strong run into the box before lobbing wide midway through the first period. Cao Yunding then delivered a well-timed pass to Salmeron, who rounded Liu Yu to power a 15-yard drive past goalkeeper Song Zhenyu.
Jiang Jiajun thought he extended the lead eight minutes before half-time when he was put clear by Juan Camilo Angulo, only to see a ten-yard effort fly wide of the post.
Shortly after the interval, Salmeron rose higher than any defender to connect with Jiang Kun's corner. However, he failed to head on target as the ball deflected off Wang Cun before Peng made an unsuccessful clearing attempt which saw him kick the ball into the net. Jiang Kun then set up another close-range effort for Salmeron to score before Peng steered Zhang's back-pass home to score the only goal for the visitors.
"My players were able to concentrate on the match today," said Shanghai coach Xi Zhikang. "I am satisfied with our spirit because we had attached great importance to the rivals and dominated them from the beginning to the end."
Shanghai are now on 17 points in third place - while Chengdu are in tenth - and are just one point adrift of table-toppers Guangzhou Evergrande, who are due to take on Changchun Yatai tomorrow. "I would still give credit to my team since they did their best," said Chengdu manager Lawrie McKinna. "We were defeated by an excellent team today."