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Frustrated Manuel Pellegrini blasts pitch as Hebei CFFC held to draw

Manuel Pellegrini asked: 'How can players play in these conditions?'

Manuel Pellegrini was unhappy with the state of the pitch as his Hebei CFFC missed the chance to further strengthen their grip on third place.

Hebei were held to a 0-0 draw at Changchun Yatai and have opened up a two-point lead over fourth-placed Tianjin Quanjian, who have played a game fewer, as they seek to secure their place in next year's Asian Champions League.

Pellegrini said: "Look at the pitch -- how can players play in these conditions?

"There were 52 fouls in the whole match, and of those 20 were by us. The players can't properly stop the ball or control it.

"Now we have a three-week break to prepare for the next match against Jiangsu."

Shandong Luneng were left to rue another missed opportunity to close in on an Asian Champions League place as they lost 2-1 to struggling Henan Jianye.

Former West Ham striker Ricardo Vaz Te opened the scoring for Henan with his fourth goal in four games after 15 minutes, and Hu Jinghang doubled the advantage 11 minutes later.

An own goal from Wu Yan gave Shandong hope of a fifth league draw in a row in the league, but it proved too little too late for Felix Magath's team, who remain fifth.

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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