DALIAN, China, July 26 (Xinhua) — Former Manchester United player Marouane Fellaini headed a hat-trick in seven minutes as Shandong Luneng rallied to beat Dalian Pro 3-2 in the first round of the Chinese Super League on Sunday.
The towering Belgian, who moved back to his familiar position in the midfield from up front in the second half, headed in a pass from right in the 79th minute to make it 1-1 for the Shandong side.
Three minutes later, the 32-year-old outjumped two Dalian defenders to muscle in his second header.
He completed a hat-trick in the 86th minute when he headed in a corner kick.
Fellaini said that he felt more comfortable after having struggled up front in the first half.
“I am not a number nine. If it can help the team, I do it. But my position is at midfield. I know how to do in the midfield,” he said.
Li Xiaopeng, head coach of Shandong Luneng, said he put Fellaini back to the midfield so as to give the tired player more space to recover and attack.
“Fellaini ran a lot in the first half and became tired. So I moved him back to the midfield, where he could regroup and attack,” he said.
Fellaini was found to have contracted the COVID-19 in late March when he came back to China. He recovered from it in mid-April.
Jose Rondon of Venezuela put the Dalian side 1-0 ahead in the 57th minute with a header. Sweden’s Marcus Danielsson scored the other goal for Rafa Benitez’s side in injury time. Enditem