JINAN: Shandong Luneng climbed back into the qualification places for next year’s Asian Champions League on Sunday despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Beijing Renhe in the Chinese Super League.
Diego Tardelli’s 71st-minute penalty cancelled out Benjamin Moukandjo’s deflected strike to earn Shandong a point that saw them move into third in the standings, ahead of Beijing Guoan thanks to their better head-to-head record.
“We didn’t play very well,” said Shandong coach Li Xiaopeng. “The whole team were not at their best.”
“We need to review our performance in this game. Our players were tired but that’s not the reason for our poor performance. We’ve been intimidated by our opponents lately and that’s something we have to take seriously.”
Shandong drew level on points with Beijing Guoan after Roger Schmidt’s side slipped to a 1-0 defeat to league leaders Shanghai SIPG on Saturday, with Brazilian forward Hulk scoring the only goal of the game.
The win ensured Vítor Pereira’s team remain four points clear of Guangzhou Evergrande with six games remaining after the defending champions kept pace with the leaders by handing Dalian Yifang a 3-0 defeat.
Alan Carvalho put Evergrande in front from the penalty spot just five minutes into the game, but it took until the 65th minute for Gao Lin to double his side’s advantage over last year’s second division champions.
Nyasha Mushekwi’s own goal four minutes later guaranteed Evergrande all three points.
Meanwhile, Tianjin Quanjian’s slide continued as Paulo Sousa’s side lost their fourth league game in a row, with a 3-0 defeat by Chongqing Lifan moving them closer to the bottom end of the table.
Alan Kardec’s double earned Jordi Cruyff’s Chongqing a much-needed win and they are now just three points behind Quanjian who are in 13th place, just ahead of Henan Jianye and Guizhou Zhicheng who occupy the two bottom relegation berths.
Henan enhanced their own hopes of staying in the top-flight with a 2-0 win over Chris Coleman’s Hebei China Fortune while Guizhou also collected three points thanks to their 1-0 win over Tianjin Teda.
Elsewhere, Shanghai Shenhua claimed a 3-1 success over Guangzhou R&F, while Éder scored twice in Jiangsu Suning’s 5-2 win over Changchun Yatai.