Three goals in the final 10 minutes spared Guangzhou Evergrande‘s blushes as Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side picked up a 3-0 win over strugglers Tianjin Teda on Saturday evening to maintain their place at the summit of the Chinese Super League.
Gao Lin’s opener came nine minutes from time before efforts from Ricardo Goulart and Zhang Wenzhao as Evergrande returned to winning ways after their 4-2 defeat against Guangzhou R&F last weekend.
The win also ensures Guangzhou will finish the round at the top of the standings and put the pressure back onto Shanghai SIPG, who take on third-placed Tianjin Quanjian on Sunday evening.
“Our opponent’s counter-attacking made the game very difficult for us,” said Scolari. “Their formation was very tight and they were quite determined on the attack. We weren’t able to create any good opportunities until the second half and we finally found our own tempo during the last 20 minutes. We deserved to win, it shows the quality of our players, so overall it was a very good result.”
Roger Schmidt’s winning start to life as Beijing Guoan coach came to an end as his side was held to a 2-2 draw by Shandong Luneng, who are coached by his fellow German Felix Magath.
A thrilling first 45 minutes yielded all four goals with Graziano Pelle giving Shandong the lead with an outrageous volley from 25 yards out just 14 minutes into the game.
Goals from Ba Dun and Li Lei within six minutes of each other put Beijing in front, only for Papiss Cisse to level in injury time.
The result keeps Shandong in fourth on 35 points with Beijing three points behind as the battle for the final place in next year’s Asian Champions League continues.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Hebei CFFC picked up their first win in seven league games with a 3-0 victory over Yanbian Funde, while Shanghai Shenhua shared the points in a 1-1 draw with Changchun Yatai.
Jiangsu Suning were held to a 2-2 draw by Henan Jianye as Fabio Capello’s side went a fifth game without defeat in the league; Guizhou Zhicheng handed Chongqing Lifan a 1-0 defeat thanks to a solitary goal from Ruben Castro.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch