Shandong up top, for now

Shandong Luneng hoped to bounce back, after dropping their first three points of the season to Shanghai SIPG a week ago, when Beijing Gouan came to visit. Graziano Pellè failed to provide the home side with the perfect start, missing a penalty in the fifth minute and then another sterling chance seven minutes later. In between that, Guoan’s Burak Yılmaz had failed to convert the header, following a good delivery from a free-kick. The chances kept coming, mostly towards the Gouan goal and often with Pellè getting the final touch, but still it wasn’t until the 38th minute that Wu Xinghan fired off a well hit shot to break the deadlock. After that, the tempo dropped and Luneng looked comfortably in control for the remainder of the first half.
It was more even in the second half, Gouan looked like equalising after 62 minutes, when Wang Dalei in the Luneng goal was left well out of reach, but the ball smashed against the upright and back out again. It was still very open and entertaining with chances on both ends and with fifteen minutes of regular time to go, Gouan thought it was their turn to have a go from the spot. The referee, however, deemed it as handball when the attacking player was pushed onto the ball and refused to listen to the visitors calls to discuss the matter further with his assistant. Gouan didn’t muster much after that and Luneng secured three important and impressive points to become league leaders, at least until Guangzhou R&F plays Tianjin Teda tomorrow.

In Tianjin, Hulk returned from his injury but failed to add to Wu Lei’s first half goal, as the big Brazilian wasted a penalty for Shanghai SIPG in the 49th minute. Instead it was his countryman, Pato, who finally got on the scoresheet in the CSL ten minutes later. A nice change for the high profile signing, having failed to salvage a fair bit of points for Quanjian earlier in the season.

In the lower regions of the table, Jiangsu Suning, dominating in the AFC Champions League, got their second point of the domestic campaign as they drew away to Henan Jianye. With 78 minutes played, Brazilian star Ramires equalled Cameroonian Christian Bassogog’s early goal, meaning both teams have still to record their first victory in this year’s CSL, with Henan recording their third tie in five games.

In the earlier fixture of the day, Odion Ighalo turned the match around with two goals, after Fredy Guarín had given Shanghai Shenhua the lead away to Changchun Yatai. The visitors, without Carlos Tévez, then turned it right back around again with a goal from Cao Yunding, and a late winner from Giovanni Moreno, keeping Changchun at the very bottom of the CSL, with only a single point so far.

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