Just when you think you have the Chinese Super League title in your grasp, along comes a pesky opponent to try to stifle your attempts to attain glory. And in this instance, the opposition for would-be league champions Guangzhou Evergrande came in the shape of an obdurate Chongqing Lifan, who – against the odds — earned a point from a 1-1 draw.
Fabio Cannavaro’s outfit started ever so brightly and it was surely a thought process of “business as usual” when the home side made the breakthrough thanks to Anderson Talisca’s swerving free-kick that eluded the wall and made it 1-0 after half an hour. The goal should have provided the springboard for the home side to go on and chalk up another comfortable victory; a win that would have all but confirmed that the prize of the league title would be collected come the end of the season.
This is when football becomes the delicious beast we know and love. For just two minutes after Cannavaro’s men had taken the lead a sting in the tail arrived courtesy of the defiant visitors. it was the ever-lively and certainly committed Feng Jin who scored a wonderful solo strike after leaving three opponents in his wake with a mazy run before slotting home in some style to make it 1-1.
And for all of their possession and clever passing, the table-toppers couldn’t claw back a goal to give them the victory that they probably deserved. And so, while this was not so good for the likes of Samba ace Paulinho — perhaps Guangzhou Evergrande’s most effective player — it was certainly positive for the teams chasing the leaders, still hopeful that they can usurp them to pinch the title.
One of those is second-placed Beijing Guoan who did their hopes no harm at all with a 2-0 win at Dalian Yifang. The visitors made the breakthrough on the hour mark when the excellent and efficient Ba Dun stroked home from an inviting corner kick. The writing was certainly on the wall from that moment. And as expected Beijing Guoan doubled their lead when Zhang Yining slotted away with three minutes left on the clock.
Meanwhile, Shanghai SIPG, in third place, romped to a 5-1 triumph over Tianjin Teda. Lu Wenjin made it 1-0 after just 10 minutes before Sandro Wagner levelled for Tianjin with a well-placed headed goal. But after the break there was only one team in it and Marko Arnautovic – formerly of West ham United in the English Premier League — made it 2-1 before Li Shenglong added a third goal. Cai Huikang chipped in for 4-1 and then the spring-heeled Odil Ahmedov wrapped things up with high fives all round.