Champions Guangzhou, Wuhan win as Chinese Super League season finally kicks off

Soccer Football - Chinese Super League - Wuhan Zall vs Qingdao Huanghai - Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China - July 25, 2020. Players of Wuhan Zall in action against players of Qingdao Huanghai in front of a giant screen showing fans watching the match online, as it resumes following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. cnsphoto via REUTERS.

(Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande began the defence of their Chinese Super League (CSL) title with a 2-0 victory against Shanghai Shenhua as the delayed 2020 campaign, revamped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finally kicked off over the weekend.

Two goals from China international forward Wei Shihao gave the side coached by Italian World Cup-winner Fabio Cannavaro victory as they began their bid for a ninth crown in 10 seasons in perfect fashion behind closed doors on Saturday.

Shenzhen FC defeated Dutchman Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Guangzhou R&F 3-0 on Sunday to climb above Evergrande on goal difference in the league's Dalian hub in northeast China.

Instead of the home-and-away system, the 16 CSL teams are playing a round robin in two groups with the top four from each qualifying for an eight-team "championship" stage and the remaining eight going into a "relegation" phase.

Dalian Pro, coached by Spaniard Rafa Benitez, got off to a disappointing start with a 3-2 defeat by Shandong Luneng, while Jiangsu Suning pipped Henan Jianye 4-3.

In the Suzhou hub near Shanghai, Wuhan Zall - hailing from the city where the novel coronavirus first emerged last year - received a guard of honour before beating promoted Qingdao Huanghai 2-0.

An own goal by defender Yaki Yen and Liu Yun's strike in the second half sealed the win for Wuhan, who had travelled to Cadiz in Spain for a pre-season tour on Jan. 29 and stayed there for several weeks as the virus spread rapidly.

Last year's runners-up Beijing Guoan overcame an early red card for defender Yang Fan to defeat Chongqing Lifan 2-1, with second half goals from Li Lei and Piao Cheng. A Yu Dabao own goal 10 minutes from time ensured a tight finish.

Brazilian forward Ricardo Lopes scored twice as Shanghai SIPG came from behind to beat Tianjin Teda 3-1 in Suzhou.

Full back Rong Hao broke the deadlock for Tianjin Teda inside six minutes before Lopes and Wang Shenchao found the net to hand Shanghai SIPG a 2-1 lead just before halftime.

Lopes, who joined Shanghai SIPG from South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, scored his second goal on league debut in the 64th minute to secure a comfortable victory.

Hebei CFFC were held 2-2 by Shijiazhuang Ever Bright.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Christian Radnedge)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Did you find this article insightful?


Next In Football

Super League: All-local PJ City holds Perak in Ipoh
Soccer-Struggling West Brom held by Newcastle in dour goalless draw
Mancini header earns Roma narrow victory over Genoa
Burnley say defender Pieters abused online after Arsenal draw
Man Utd's Fernandes brushes off criticism of big-game record
Liverpool 'too big' to sacrifice Premier League for European glory: Klopp
Coach Brebner takes blame after Melbourne Victory's 6-0 hammering
Arsenal denied 'clear' penalty in Burnley draw, says Arteta
Ferguson says feared losing memory, speech after brain haemorrhage
Blades boss Wilder plots shake-up as relegation fears mount

Stories You'll Enjoy