Guangzhou Evergrande woes continue after Guangzhou R&F defeat
Guangzhou Evergrande's faltering defence of their Chinese Super League defence continued as Luiz Felipe Scolari's side were beaten 4-2 by cross-city rivals Guangzhou R&F on Saturday evening.
Eran Zahavi and Renatinho both scored twice to condemn Evergrande to a third defeat in five league games to allow Andre Villas-Boas' Shanghai SIPG the opportunity to move into pole position when they take on Shandong Luneng on Sunday.
Evergrande continue to lead the table by a point from SIPG, who will go top if they draw against Felix Magath's team given their superior goal difference.
Zahavi's hot run of form continued as the Israel international took his tally for the season to 20 goals in 19 games, the 30-year-old opening the scoring seven minutes before half time to give R&F the lead with a strike from outside the area.
Yu Hanchao levelled seven minutes into the second half from close range but Renatinho capitalised on a mix-up in defence less than a minute later to put his side back in front.
The Brazilian then gave his team a two-goal cushion when he fired into the roof of the net after a run through the heart of the Evergrande backline midway through the second half and Zahavi's header put the result beyond doubt with five minutes to go to ensure Gao Lin's late header was nothing more than a consolation.
The result allowed Tianjin Quanjian to close in on top spot as Fabio Cannavaro's side handed Yanbian Funde a 2-0 defeat thanks to a pair of goals from Alexandre Pato that moved them to within six points of first place.
Pato put his side ahead in the 36th minute after an assist by debutante Anthony Modeste and the Brazilian doubled his side's lead in the 72nd minute to ensure Tianjin took all three points despite Chu Jinzhao's late sending off.
"I'm very happy with 2-0," said Cannavaro. "The players did well with their tactical execution, converting opportunities and solving problems in the game in these three aspects."
Modeste was making his debut for Tianjin and was withdrawn after 70 minutes but Cannavaro is confident the Frenchman can complement rather than compete with Pato.
"Anthony Modeste has only just returned from holidays and our opponents have been in season for six months, so that's why I only gave him 70 minutes," said the Italian. "I can't work against the rule of football just because he is Anthony Modeste.
"There is no competition between Pato and Modeste. If there is to be any competition, it must be among the entire team. These two players need no competition to prove themselves.
"Pato has made his name in Europe a long time ago with honours. They have different styles and the team will just need to gradually integrate them."
Meanwhile, Benjamin Moukandjo's penalty ensured back-to-back wins for Fabio Capello at Jiangsu Suning as they saw off Chongqing Lifan 2-1 to move up to 13th while Shanghai Shenhua fought back from two goals down to hand Hebei CFFC a 3-2 defeat.
Giovanni Moreno scored twice in the final half hour before Obafemi Martins hit the winner 13 minutes from time as Manuel Pellegrini's side slipped to a fourth straight defeat in the league.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch