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August 5, 2020

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Paulinho scores as Guangzhou tops Shenzhen

Former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho scored as reigning champion Guangzhou Evergrande beat Shenzhen FC 3-1 in the third round of the 2020 Chinese Super League in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning Province, yesterday.

Guangzhou went ahead in the 27th minute when winger Wei Shihao drove home a rebound off Shenzhen goalkeeper Guo Wei. Eleven minutes later, veteran defender Zhang Linpeng made it 2-0 with a header from a corner.

John Uzuegbunam pulled one back for Shenzhen early in the second half when he headed in a cross from the left flank.

But Paulinho wrapped up the win for Fabio Cannavaro’s side when Guo failed to hold a shot from Wei, and the Brazilian tapped home in the 81st, shortly after he had a goal disallowed for offside.

With its third straight victory, Guangzhou tops the nascent league’s Group A with a full 9 points. Jiangsu Suning is second in the Dalian bubble on 7 points, following its 2-1 victory over Rafael Benitez’s Dalian Pro in the day’s late match — all three goals came within a 10-minute spell near the end of the game.

Although Jiangsu dominated possession, Dalian came close to scoring in the 19th as midfielder Marek Hamsik’s free-kick cannoned off the crossbar. Eleven minutes later, Sam Larsson’s long drive was saved by Jiangsu ‘keeper Gu Chao.

Midfielder Alex Teixeira thought he had put Jiangsu ahead just before the break, but the goal was disallowed after VAR judged Eder Martins was offside.

Suning broke the deadlock in the 73rd when Teixeira headed home from Ji Xiang’s right-wing cross. But Salomon Rondon leveled for Dalian with a similarly powerful header four minutes later.

Wang Yaopeng’s foul in the 81st then gifted Jiangsu a penalty, and Martins made no mistake from the spot.

The loss means Dalian has yet to win a match in the delayed league, it has just 1 point and lies seventh out of eight teams playing on its home turf.

Elsewhere, Qingdao Huanghai has appointed former Shanghai Greenland Shenhua manager Wu Jingui as its new head coach to replace Pablo Machin, the CSL side announced yesterday.

Promoted Qingdao had terminated the contract of former Sevilla and Espanyol boss Machin last month after one of his relatives had tested positive for COVID-19, preventing the Spaniard from travelling to China to take up the job.

The club confirmed the appointment of Wu in a post on its Weibo account.

Wu, 59, who has had multiple spells as Shanghai boss, guided the team to the Chinese FA Cup title in 2017 and was appointed its technical director the following year, Reuters reported.

Qingdao is second from bottom in Group B after a defeat and a draw from its first two games in the Suzhou bubble. It takes on Shanghai SIPG tomorrow.


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