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Hebei stay on course for Champions League slot

73   //    29 Oct 2017, 22:24 IST

By Michael Church

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Two goals from Brazilian striker Aloisio moved Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei CFFC a step closer to qualifying for next year's Asian Champions League on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

Ezequiel Lavezzi was also on the scoresheet as Hebei kept hold of third place in the league ahead of Fabio Cannavaro's Tianjin Quanjian with one round of matches remaining.

Hebei have 52 points, one more than Cannavaro's outfit, who kept the pressure on Pellegrini's team with a 4-1 thrashing of relegated Liaoning Whowin.

"Now the decision is in our hands," said Pellegrini. "If we can win against Shandong Luneng, we can qualify for the Asian Champions League without worrying about the results in the other matches.

"It will mean so much to our long-term development if we can finally secure it."

The top three teams in the Chinese Super League qualify for the continental championship, with Guangzhou progressing directly to the group phase while second-placed Shanghai SIPG and the team in third enter the qualifying rounds.

The game against Hebei meant little to a Guangzhou side that clinched a record seventh straight league title last week and who were without coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was serving the second of a three-game touchline ban.

Hebei's win meant Guangzhou R&F's hopes of finishing in the top three came to an end despite Dragan Stojkovic's side recording a 3-2 win over Tianjin Teda.

R&F are in fifth and three points behind Hebei but with an inferior head-to-head record they cannot move ahead of the team from Qinhuangdao.

Shandong's hopes of climbing into the leading three positions were also sunk when Guizhou Zhicheng handed Felix Magath's team a 3-0 defeat that left the former champions in sixth, six points behind Hebei.

SIPG picked up their first win in three games with a 4-2 victory over Henan Jianye with Hulk scoring twice as Andre Villas-Boas's side begin to focus their attention on their meeting with second division side Shanghai Shenxin in the final of the Chinese FA Cup next month.

SIPG, who have spent more than 150 million euros ($174.12 million) on foreign talent in the last two years, are guaranteed to finish in second place, an improvement of one position from last season.

Carlos Tevez was on target as Shanghai Shenhua thrashed relegated Yanbian Funde 5-1 with Freddie Guarin scoring twice and the other goals coming from Giovani Moreno and Zhu Jianrong.

Fabio Capello's Jiangsu Suning defeated Beijing Guoan 1-0 while Changchun Yatai recorded a 3-1 win over Chongqing Lifan.

($1 = 0.8615 euros)

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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