April 7, 2019 / 3:54 PM / in 13 days

Soccer: Ighalo double earns Shenhua second straight win

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Odion Ighalo struck twice as Shanghai Shenhua thrashed Beijing Renhe 5-1 on Sunday, a second straight Chinese Super League victory for Quique Sanchez Flores’ side.

Shenhua followed up last week’s victory over Henan Jianye with a comprehensive win in which they raced into a three-goal lead by the 35th minute thanks to efforts from Giovanni Moreno, Fredy Guarin and Ighalo.

Ighalo added Shenhua’s fourth midway through the second half with a cheeky back heel and Zhang Lu scored the fifth 10 minutes before the end, leaving Makhete Diop to net a consolation for Renhe with just four minutes remaining.

“We played well today, even though we didn’t do so well in the opening 15 minutes,” said Flores, who joined the club ahead of the current season.

“But after we scored the first goal the players’ confidence obviously improved and it’s a satisfying result.

“We are at the start of a process, with a new coach who is bringing new ideas and tactics. So this is a process of adjustment and I hope we will continue to improve until the end of the season.”

Victory moves Shenhua up to seventh in the standings on six points, six adrift of leading duo Beijing Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande, who both have perfect records after the first four rounds of matches.

Beijing beat Jiangsu Suning 3-0 while Evergrande notched up a 2-0 victory over city rivals Guangzhou R&F, moving the pair three points clear of defending champions Shanghai SIPG.

Vitor Pereira’s side, who won the title for the first time last year, slipped to a surprise first loss of the season against Chongqing Lifan.

Hulk looked to have salvaged a point for SIPG with a stunning long-range drive to level the scores after they had fallen two goals behind.

Chongqing, however, took all three points with a 3-2 win when Shanghai goalkeeper Yan Junling palmed Mawlanyaz Dilmurat’s low cross into his own goal three minutes into stoppage time.

SIPG are third in the table as Shandong Luneng missed the chance to move above them when they were held to a 1-1 draw by promoted Shenzhen FC.

Chris Coleman’s Hebei China Fortune drew 0-0 with Tianjin Tianhai and Dalian Yifang are still looking for their first win of the season after a brace from Brazilian forward Johnathan earned Tianjin Teda a 2-1 victory over Choi Kang-hee’s team.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Toby Davis

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