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Second half goals keep Guangzhou four points clear

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By Michael Church

HONGKONG (Reuters) – Guangzhou Evergrande maintained their four point lead at the top of the Chinese Super League on Saturday as Fabio Cannavaro’s side beat Shandong Luneng 3-0 to close in on an eighth title in nine seasons.

Wei Shihao, Elkeson and Paulinho were all on target in the second half for the seven-time champions, who have set their sights on reclaiming the crown they surrendered to Shanghai SIPG last season.

Guangzhou lead second-placed Beijing Guoan by four points with nine matches remaining after the club from the capital won their first game under new coach Bruno Genesio 2-0 against Hebei CFFC on Friday.

But SIPG, who won the title for the first time last year, slipped two points further behind as they were held to a 0-0 draw by strugglers Tianjin Tianhai.

“I hope the team’s good form never comes to an end, but there are still many games left in the season,” said Cannavaro, whose side have now won their last 12 league games in a row.

“We have to face Beijing Guoan and Jiangsu Suning on the road and I hope that the team will show good form when we play the top teams.”

Cannavaro’s team brushed aside a Shandong side that remains in fourth place despite their second loss in a row while Jiangsu Suning moved up to fifth – and to within four points of Shandong – due to their 2-2 draw with Guangzhou R&F.

They are joined on 30 points by Rafael Benitez’s Dalian Yifang, who defeated Chongqing Lifan 3-1, with Solomon Rondon scoring either side of a goal from Yannick Carrusco.

South Korean striker Kim Shin-wook was on target yet again for Shanghai Shenhua as the World Cup veteran scored his seventh and eighth goals in five games since joining the club last month as Choi Kang-hee’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by Wuhan Zall.

The draw was Shenhua’s fifth game without defeat in all competitions since two-time Asian Champions League-winning coach Choi replaced Quique Sanchez Flores at the helm last month and they are now in 12th place.

Elsewhere, bottom side Beijing Renhe were held to a 1-1 draw by Shenzhen FC, who were playing their first game under new coach Roberto Donadoni, while Tianjin Teda picked up a 2-0 win over Henan Jianye.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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