|Cristian Andal |||Mar 06, 2017 01:50 AM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) Elkeson scores a hat-trick in Shanghai SIPG's 5-1 win over Changchun Yatai on Saturday.
Last season's third-place finishers Shanghai SIPG FC crushes lowly team Changchun Yatai FC, 5-1, to open their campaign in the 2017 Chinese Super League season with a bang at the Shanghai Stadium on Saturday.
Brazilian import Elkeson netted a hat-trick in a span of 17 minutes to lead head coach André Villas-Boas squad during the match, as per Xinhuanet.
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Changchun Yatai actually broke the game's deadlock in the 26th minute with a long-range strike by local defender Fan Xiaodong. However, it was quickly equalized by former Zenit Saint Petersburg standout Hulk eight minutes later with the assist coming from SIPG's $73 million winter signee Oscar.
From there, Elkeson's scoring barrage began as he gave the lead to Shanghai in the 43rd minute, scoring a goal off a pass by Hulk, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead at the break. Elkeson then scored two more in the 51st and 59th minute to help the Red Eagles pull away in the second half before Wu Lei's injury time goal sealed the lopsided victory for Shanghai.
Despite the win and a perfect start to the season, Villas-Boas expressed his frustration about the Chinese Football Association's new ruling with regards to the limit of foreign players that can play on the pitch simultaneously. From four players, only three imports are now allowed to grace the field per team.
After the match, Villas-Boas hit the new regulations, saying that because of the limit, he could not send in Uzbek midfielder Odil Ahmedov, who he considers as an "excellent" player, the South China Morning Post reported.
"Ahmedov is very excellent, but due to the new policy he couldn't play this match," said the former Chelsea manager. "I was disappointed in this policy, but life goes on and we have to find the best way to deal with it." SIPG will next face Yanbian Funde on Friday also at the Shanghai Stadium for their second round CSL fixture.
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