Ai Kesen (L) of Guangzhou Evergrande vies with Ji Xiang of Jiangsu Suning during the 6th round match at the postponed 2020 season Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL) Dalian Division in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning province, Aug 20, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
DALIAN, China – Paulinho’s late goal helped Guangzhou Evergrande see off Jiangsu Suning 2-1 on Thursday and took the defending champions to the top in their group at the Chinese Super League.
Aikesen of Guangzhou Evergrande calmly converted a penalty earned by Yang Liyu with a low shot to the corner in the 24th minute, giving Evergrande the lead over Suning in the first half of the hottest clash in the sixth round.
But Evergrande’s defender Zhang Linpeng’s tackle resulted in his ejection before the half time break, after being given his second yellow card.
Cosmin Olaroiu put Wu Xi and Alex Teixeira Santos in the game at the beginning of the second half, expecting the duo to turn the game around for Jiangsu.
In the 54th minute, Teixeira’s low pass brought chaos to his rivals in the box, Eder Citadin Martins equalized after diverting Park Ji-soo’s clearance into the net.
Jiangsu’s hope of winning the game suffered a setback in the 83rd minute when their goalkeeper Gu Chao’s pass was stolen by Paulinho, only to see the Brazilian midfielder net the winner for Evergrande.
In the other game played on Thursday, Shenzhen FC defeated Dalian Pro 3-2, ending their embarrassing run of four consecutive losses.
He Chao (2nd L) of Guangzhou Evergrande vies for the ball during the 6th round match between Guangzhou Evergrande and Jiangsu Suning at the postponed 2020 season Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL) Dalian Division in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning province, Aug 20, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
Gao Lin broke the deadlock for Shenzhen in the 11th minute, after receiving Li Yuanyi’s pass. Ge Zhen of Shenzhen created his side’s second goal 10 minutes later, contributing a long overhead pass and helping Harold Preciado grow their advantages through a diving header.
At the beginning of the second half, Salomon Rondon pulled one back through a header. In the 54th minute, Marek Hamsik equalized through a powerful shot from close range, after collecting Rondon’s pass.
The referee adjudged Sam Larsson to have fouled Zheng Dalun inside the box, giving Shenzhen a penalty opportunity. John Mary scored the penalty, helping his team retake a 3-2 lead.
Shenzhen’s head coach Zhang Xiaorui asked Mary to play as a defender in the last few minutes, building a solid defensive system and keeping the advantage until the end. The win meant Zhang’s side narrowed the gap on runaway leaders Guangzhou Evergrande to nine points in the Dalian division, but, more pertinently, Shenzhen is now four clear of bottom side Dalian Pro.