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August 11, 2020

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Rondon brace rescues point for Dalian

Former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon scored twice to rescue a point for Rafael Benitez’s struggling Dalian Pro in the Chinese Super League yesterday.

Benitez, a former Real Madrid coach and Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005, is still searching for his first victory in four games this season.

Rondon went down in the box under minimal pressure and then scored the penalty in the third minute of injury time in a 2-2 stalemate with FA Cup winner Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

The 30-year-old Venezuelan, who was with Benitez at English Premier League side Newcastle before both moved to China last summer, also scored in the 66th minute following a defensive mistake as Dalian twice came from behind.

Kim Shin-wook and Alexander N’Doumbou scored for Shenhua.

Dalian has taken just two points from a maximum 12 and the 60-year-old Benitez is battling to live up to his nickname — in China, they call him a “master tactician.”

The Spaniard, who at times wiped his face with a white towel such was the heat and humidity in Dalian, said: “I want to say congratulations to my players, it was a very difficult game.

“I’m really pleased for them because they made a great effort and they deserved at least a draw. Not just Rondon — the team worked really hard — but I’m pleased for him, he’s scoring a lot of goals now and doing well.”

Rondon has four goals in as many matches this season.

Dalian faces Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Guangzhou R&F, which is also yet to win this season, on Saturday in a game it dares not lose.

In the day’s other match in Dalian, Henan Jianye beat Shenzhen FC 2-1.

Jiangsu Suning leads Group A on 10 points, a point ahead of CSL defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande. Shenhua and Shandong Luneng are next in the eight-team group on 7 points. Henan has 5 points to Shenzhen’s 3.

All matches are taking place behind closed doors in Dalian, Liaoning Province and Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, to minimize the risk of coronavirus infections.




 

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