Chinese Super League News: Alexandre Pato Shines in Tianjin Quanjian Debut Despite 2-3 Friendly Loss to Pisa
Newly-acquired striker Alexandre Pato scored a goal in his Tianjin Quanjian debut as the Chinese Super League club lost to Serie B side AC Pisa, 2-3, in a friendly game at the Arena Garibaldi on Thursday.
Head coach Fabio Cannavaro's boys went up 2-0 after half an hour of action before fellow Italian manager Gennaro Gattuso's squad scored three goals in the second half of the match to come away with the exhibition win. Cannavaro and Gattuso were former teammates in the Italy national football team.
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Brazilian forward Geuvânio scored the opening goal just 50 seconds into the contest before Pato doubled Tianjin's lead in the 30th minute, the former Milan striker's first goal for his new club. Pisa was given a chance to trim the gap before the halftime break, but the Italian squad was not able to convert a penalty kick, as per The Sun.
Gattuso then fielded in Gaetano Masucci at the restart and the Italian forward led a second-half comeback for the Nerazzurri. After Masucci trimmed the gap to 1-2 early in the second half, Pisa's Daniele Mannini and Diego Peralta then netted a free kick each to put Quanjian back to their feet in what looked like an easy win for the China top-flight outfit.
After the game, Cannavaro had some kind words for Gattuso and admitted that he is still looking to add another quality striker before the new Chinese Super League season begins in March.
Aside from Pato and Geuvânio, Quanjian only has Belgian winger Axel Witsel and South Korean midfielder Kwon Kyung-won as their foreign players at the moment. Witsel was acquired by Tianjin from Russian team Zenit Saint Petersburg early last month for a transfer fee of $21 million.
Pato, 27, followed Witsel at the end of January in a $19.5 million transfer from La Liga side Villarreal, via SkySports. He scored six goals in a total of 24 appearances in all competitions for the Yellow Submarine this season before accepting the Tianjin offer.