DALIAN, China, July 25 (Xinhua) — Wei Shihao scored a brace as defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande beat FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 in the Chinese Super League season opener on Saturday.
Fabio Cannavaro’s side went ahead seven minutes into play when Wei collected a pass from Paulinho and jinked a defender before firing a blistering angled shot past Shenhua’s goalkeeper Li Shuai.
The 25-year-old netted the second goal in the 65th minute on a fast counterattack when he, unmarked, swept in a comfortable pass from teammate Yang Liyu.
The Shanghai side’s best chance came in the 46th minute when a curled pass from midfielder Peng Xinli found Kim Shin-Wook with only Guangzhou’s goalkeeper Liu Dianzuo to beat, but the South Korean striker missed the chance.
The CSL new season, originally scheduled to start on February 22, adopted a revamped format, under which the 16-team league was split into two groups, with one group based in Dalian and the other in Suzhou.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the players, coaching staff and referees are confined to a sealed-off area until September 28 when the first phase of the league ends.
Dalian saw 12 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the first one was found on Wednesday, three days before the CSL season started.
The CSL organizers said the players, who have been very well protected with strict anti-pendemic measures, were unperturbed and remained focused on the upcoming fixtures. Enditem