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June 20, 2016

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Ba’s hat-trick fires Shenhua

A HAT-TRICK by Demba Ba and a goal by Obafemi Martins powered Shanghai Greenland Shenhua past Hangzhou Greentown 4-0 in their 14th round Chinese Super League last night.

The victory lifted Shenhua to fifth in the standings on 22 points, one point less than 4th-ranked city rival SIPG. The latter was held 0-0 by Shandong Luneng in an earlier match.

Shenhua’s former Australian midfielder Tim Cahill made a return to Hongkou Football Stadium but even though the 37-year-old played the full match, it was not enough.

Both sides created several chances in the first half, with Shenhua drawing first blood in the 42nd minute as Ba headed the ball into the Hangzhou net on a left-wing pass Cao Yunding.

Shenhua could have enlarged the lead 20 minutes into second half when Lu Zheng’s pass from the right went across the Hangzhou goal, with both Ba and Giovanni Moreno missing.

The second goal came in the 74th, when Fredy Guarin’s shot was blocked by Hangzhou goalie Zou Dehai and Ba was on hand to stab home the rebound. The Senegal striker completed his hat-trip seven minutes later, and assisted Martins on the fourth goal in front of more than 24,000 fans packed at Hongkou Stadium.

Hangzhou, winless in last 11 matches, sits at the bottom of the 16-team standing on 9 points.

In an earlier match, Sven-Goran Erikson’s SIPF had to settle for frustrating a goalless draw in Jinan, Shandong. Last year’s runner-up is now six points behind third-placed Jiangsu Suning, and 10 points off leader Guangzhou Evergrande.

Elsewhere, Suning beat Chongqing Lifan 2-1 thanks to a last-minute goal by Alex Teixeira. Defending champion Evergrande was held 1-1 by Yanbian Fonde while Hebei China Fortune beat Tianjin Teda 1-0 on Saturday. Hebei is now second on 30 points.


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