SIPG beat Jiangsu to keep pace with leaders Beijing
By Michael Church
HONG KONG, July 13 (Reuters) - Shanghai SIPG kept Chinese Super League (CSL) leaders Beijing Guoan within touching distance on Saturday as Vitor Pereira's defending champions beat nine-man Jiangsu Suning 3-0.
New signing Marko Arnautovic, acquired from West Ham United this week, missed the game due to injury but the Austrian's absence mattered little as SIPG comfortably took all three points to stay two points behind the leaders.
Hulk opened the scoring for last year's title winners with two minutes on the clock and Jiangsu's hopes suffered a fatal blow seven minutes later when Ye Chongqiu was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Yang Shiyuan right under the nose of referee Mark Clattenburg.
Zhang Wei added a second goal for Shanghai in the 17th minute while Oscar rifled home from the edge of the area 11 minutes into the second half.
Xie Pengfei became the second home player to be shown the red card with 20 minutes remaining, to compound Jiangsu's misery.
"We had a good start today," said Pereira. "After going 1-0 up quickly, our opponents got a red card and in these cases the game is very difficult.
"After we took a 2-0 lead our offensive and defensive organisation was messy. It was not easy to win 3-0 today; it's not easy to win at Suning's home."
Wuhan Zall leapt up to fifth in the table as goals from Leo Baptistao and Jean Kouassi saw Li Tie's side defeat bottom club Beijing Renhe 2-0 while Tianjin Tianhai and Shenzhen FC drew 2-2.
Beijing Guoan notched up their 15th win of the season on Wednesday with a 4-1 thrashing of Chongqing Lifan that ensured Roger Schmidt's team maintain their position at the summit, two points ahead of Guangzhou Evergrande.
Evergrande, seven times champions, continued their run of eight league wins in a row with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Tianjin Teda, with newly re-signed Brazilian striker Elkeson among the scorers.
Rafa Benitez oversaw a second consecutive win to move Dalian Yifang up to seventh in the standings as the Spaniard's side defeated Guangzhou R&F 3-2 thanks to a brace from Yannick Carrasco.
Shanghai Shenhua sit just above the relegation zone following their 2-1 loss to Hebei CFFC and Henan Jianye secured a 3-2 win over Shandong Luneng. (Editing by Clare Fallon)