Shangdong emerge as surprise leaders after Evergrande down SIPG
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Senegal's Papiss Cisse scored his third goal in three games on Sunday as Shandong Luneng became the surprise early leaders of the Chinese Super League after champions Guangzhou Evergrande ended Shanghai SIPG's perfect start to the season.Shandong joined Guangzhou R&F on nine points from the first three games when Cisse's second-half double ensured Felix Magath's side beat bottom side Changchun Yatai 2-0.
"The first half was difficult but luckily we didn't fall behind," said Magath, a three-times Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg. "We found our own rhythm in the second half.Guangzhou R&F are the only other team in the league with a perfect record three rounds into the season after Dragan Stojkovic's team picked up a 1-0 win over Yanbian Funde on Saturday. A late penalty from Ricardo Goulart earned champions Guangzhou Evergrande a 3-2 victory over ShanghaiSIPG.Andre Villas-Boas's SIPG had won all six of their previous games across all competitions in 2017, including their opening two Chinese Super League games, but went into the halftime break two goals down after strikes from Yu Hanchao and Alan Carvalho.
However, Elkeson's diving header, his fourth goal in three league matches, and another header from Hulk pulled SIPG level before Goulart scored from the penalty spot to give Evergrande a win that sees them draw level with Villas-Boas's side on six points.
"The second half was quite open and 2-2 would have been a fair result," said Villas-Boas. "But we also saw how hard the Evergrande players tried.
"They were the team putting more effort into attacking in the last phase of the match. At the end, they were the side kissed by luck and got a penalty."
Shanghai Shenhua missed the chance to move into third place, a Burak Yilmaz double securing Beijing Guoan's first win of the season at Workers' Stadium against Gustavo Poyet's side. Both teams now have four points from three matches.
Fabio Cannavaro's Tianjin Quanjian picked up their first win with a 1-0 victory over Henan Jianye while Hebei CFFC, coached by former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, also won for the first time this year when Hernanes scored from the penalty spot to secure the three points against GuizhouZhicheng.
Jiangsu Suning, runners up in 2016 in both the league and the Cup, continued their poor start with defeat by Liaoning Whowin that leaves them next to bottom. John Obi Mikel scored his first goal for new club Tianjin Teda in their 2-0 defeat of Chongqing Lifan.
(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Clare Lovell)Published 02 Apr 2017, 21:04 IST