Diego Tardelli's brace leads Shandong Luneng; Jiangsu beat Chongqing
Diego Tardelli scored twice as Shandong Luneng continued their winning start to the Chinese Super League campaign with a 2-1 win over Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei China Fortune to move to the top of the table on Saturday.
Tardelli netted either side of a close range effort from Song Wenjie as Shandong claimed their third win in a row to go into the international break with a perfect record.
"We've had some luck with this three-game winning streak and Hebei had quite a few chances in the first half," said Li Xiaopeng, who replaced Felix Magath as coach at the end of last season.
"We had relatively few chances. I think one thing that was slightly better today was that every team member was fighting, and fighting together. That's quite satisfactory."
Tardelli swept home the opener just after the half-hour mark after Shandong gained possession deep into the Hebei half before Graziano Pelle played the Brazilian in on goal and the striker made no mistake.
Hebei levelled seven minutes before the break, however, when Javier Mascherano's free kick wrong-footed the Shandong defence and Ezequiel Lavezzi cut the ball back for Song to poke home from inside the six-yard box.
Eight minutes after the restart, Tardelli put Shandong back in front after controlling Hao Junmin's pass on his chest and slotting beyond goalkeeper Yang Cheng to maintain his side's perfect start.
Despite the impressive start to their campaign, Li is refusing to set targets for a Shandong side that finished in fifth place last season.
"To be honest, I'm not prepared to talk about this season's goals because a football season lasts 30 games," he said.
"One game lasts 90 minutes and from the first whistle until the end of the 30th game, I will judge everything then. It's difficult to judge now. There will be players with injuries and we will have other problems and ups and down. We can only say that at the minute we're in a good state."
Meanwhile, Fabio Capello's Jiangsu Suning were handed a 4-1 thrashing by Chongqing Lifan with Liu Weidong scoring twice.
Fernandinho Conceicao gave Chongqing the lead 17 minutes into the game and Liu claimed his first six minutes later to double his side's advantage. Alex Teixeira halved the deficit in the 32nd minute but Ding Jie and Liu netted in the second half to seal all three points.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch