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Pato scores as Tianjin Quanjian beat Shanghai Shenhua, move into third

Zhao Xuri scored twice as Tianjin Quanjian handed Shanghai Shenhua a 3-0 defeat as Fabio Cannavaro's side moved into third place in the Chinese Super League standings.

Alexandre Pato also found the back of the net as Tianjin moved two points clear of Hebei CFFC and into the final qualifying place for next year's Asian Champions League.

Tianjin are eight points behind league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande, who maintained their position at the summit with victory over Shandong Luneng on Saturday.

"Although Shenhua are going through some difficult moments, their lineup has a lot of strong players, so I kept telling my players to maintain their focus and determination," said Cannavaro.

"We answered this challenge with our performance. The match was very enjoyable, but we have to forget that we won as soon as possible because we haven't achieved anything significant."

Zhao put Tianjin in front in the 23rd minute before doubling his side's lead nine minutes later while Pato added the third six minutes into the second half as last season's second division champions picked up their fourth league win in a row.

"I am not surprised by Pato, because I know him well," said Cannavaro after an impressive performance by the Brazilian.

"Luckily, he has settled into the team very quickly by giving up lots of his old habits. Every player can make a mistake, and so it is with Pato. But his effort created more opportunities in this match.

"Now he is not in his most comfortable position and it means he sacrificed himself for the team, so I'm very satisfied with him and very proud of him. He is one of us."

In the day's other game, Odion Ighalo scored a late winner as Changchun Yatai handed Guangzhou R&F a 3-2 defeat.

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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