Guangzhou's lead trimmed as Chongqing halt 13-match winning streak
By Michael Church
HONG KONG, August 15 (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande's lead at the top of the Chinese Super League was reduced to five points on Thursday as Fabio Cannavaro's side saw their long winning streak ended by a 1-1 draw with Chongqing Lifan.
Guangzhou, seeking to reclaim the title they relinquished to Shanghai SIPG last year, had won 13 games in a row to move seven points clear of second-placed Beijing Guoan ahead of the latest round of matches and seemed set to maintain that gap when Anderson Talisca's free kick put them ahead after half an hour.
But Feng Jin's equaliser two minutes later ensured Jordi Cruyff's side shared the points and, with Beijing notching up a 2-0 win over Dalian Yifang, Guangzhou's lead was trimmed by two points with seven games remaining in the campaign.
"If we could have maintained an advantage of seven or eight points then I'd have a little bit more peace of mind for the remaining seven rounds," said Cannavaro.
"But now I need to restart the team's engine and hope that the advantage doesn't narrow further. Today's game is a good lesson for the team."
Beijing handed Rafa Benitez his second loss since taking over as head coach of Dalian Yifang via goals from Ba Dun and Zhang Yuning as the club from the capital kept the pressure on Guangzhou.
Shanghai SIPG remain in third following their 5-1 win over Tianjin Teda. The defending champions returned to winning ways on Wednesday evening as Vitor Pereira's side picked up their first victory in five league matches to sit six points off the top.
Shandong Luneng's grip on fourth place was weakened by a 2-1 loss at the hands of Wuhan Zall and Jiangsu Suning are now only three points behind in fifth after a 3-0 win over Henan Jianye.
Elsewhere, Renatinho's penalty 18 minutes from time earned Tianjin Tianhai a 2-2 draw with Shanghai Shenhua while Shenzhen FC remain in the relegation zone despite a 4-0 win over Guangzhou R&F.
Dyego Sousa scored twice for Roberto Donadoni’s team as they sit in 15th in the 16-team league, with the lowest ranked duo relegated at the end of the season.
Beijing Renhe are rooted to the bottom following another defeat - their 17th in 23 games - coming at the hands of Hebei CFFC, who had goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Dong Xuesheng to thank for securing the three points. (Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Tony Lawrence )