12/03/2021 06:46:13 pm

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Chinese Super League 2017: Defending Champs Guangzhou Evergrande Nips Shanghai SIPG, 3-2

Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Ricardo Goulart

(Photo : Getty Images) Ricardo Goulart scored the winning goal in Guangzhou Evergrande's 3-2 win over Shanghai SIPG last Saturday.

Six-time defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande nipped newly-formed powerhouse Shanghai SIPG, 3-2, in their matinee 2017 Chinese Super League game last Saturday at the Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou.

It was the first loss of the season for SIPG after three rounds of competitions, dropping them to the fourth spot of the China top-flight table from the number one position. Meanwhile, the win enabled Evergrande climbed from the fourth place to third in the league standings.

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The game was tightly-contested from the kick-off as two star-studded squads with Brazilian imports battled it out on both ends of the pitch.

However, head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's side was able to break the game's deadlock in the 12th minute with a goal by local player Yu Hanchao off a pass from Guangzhou midfielder Ricardo Goulart.

Hanchao then provided an assist in the 24th minute to the club's other foreign player, Alan Carvalho, who pulled off an outstanding move against SIPG keeper Yan Junling, to make it a 2-0 count for the Southern China Tigers at the halftime break.

Head coach Andre Villas-Boas' side began a comeback in the second half as Brazilian foreigner Elkeson cut the lead to one point with a diving header in the 53rd minute off an assist by compatriot Hulk. Hulk then found the equalizer 17 minutes later with his header, directing a brilliant cross by fellow Brazilian and former Chelsea star Oscar from the far right corner.

However, it was Goulart who scored the winning goal after he converted a penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining before full-time.

Villas-Boas was criticized after the match for "over-using" teenage defender Zhang Huachen, who played for just 15 minutes before being substituted by Yu Hai.

"I was considering when to change him, but we can't change the young players at the first minute of the game, that will be ridiculous," said Villas-Boas, via the South China Morning Post. "I always say that the players should play in a very natural way instead of in a forced way. Our under-23 players are not under-23, they are under-21. We can only adapt to that slowly."

The game was Villas-Boas' first defeat as SIPG coach after seven fixtures.

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