(Reuters) - Paulinho celebrated his 100th game in the Chinese Super League (CSL) on Sunday with a brace of goals as Guangzhou Evergrande hauled themselves to within three points of the summit with a 5-0 win over Tianjin Quanjian.
The Brazilian midfielder, who rejoined the seven-times Chinese champions in July after a season spent with Barcelona, gave Guangzhou the lead after 15 minutes and added his team’s third goal in the 57th, five minutes after Ricardo Goulart had doubled Evergrande’s lead.
Anderson Talisca added two more in the final 16 minutes as Guangzhou moved to within three points of leaders Beijing Guoan while Quanjian have now gone five league games without a win and slipped to 12th in the standings.
“Tianjin are a very young club and they need to avoid making too many mistakes,” said Guangzhou coach Fabio Cannavaro, who joined Evergrande after leading Tianjin to third place in last year’s league.
“As a team they need to try hard both on and off the field and I hope they can get back to where they were last year.”
Guangzhou remain in fourth place despite the win but three points now cover the top sides after both Beijing Guoan and Shandong Luneng lost at the weekend.
Guoan were on the wrong side of a 3-0 defeat against cross-city rivals Beijing Renhe as Roger Schmidt’s side remained on 39 points while Shandong were beaten 3-1 by bottom side Guizhou Zhicheng.
Dan Petrescu picked up his second win as Guizhou coach since replacing Gregorio Manzano but the three points were not enough to move his team off the bottom of the standings and Zhicheng remain seven points adrift of safety. Shanghai SIPG moved level on points with Beijing Guoan with a game in hand as Wu Lei’s 90th-minute winner — his 18th goal of the season — earned Vitor Pereira’s team a 3-2 win over Chongqing Lifan.
Chris Coleman secured the second win of his Hebei China Fortune tenure with a 4-1 victory against 10-man Shanghai Shenhua, thanks in part to the return to action of Argentinian winger Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Lavezzi set up Ren Hang’s opener five minutes into the game but Zhang Lu’s sending-off a minute after coming on for Liu Ruofan ended Shenhua’s hopes of clawing their way back into the tie.
Jiangsu Suning’s chances of closing the gap on the leading quartet faltered with a 1-1 draw at home to Tianjin Teda while Dalian Yifang’s attempts to avoid the drop were enhanced as Nyasha Mushekwi’s brace earned Bernd Schuster’s team a 2-1 win over Henan Jianye.
Eran Zahavi scored his 15th and 16th goals of the season for Guangzhou R&F to ensure Dragan Stojkovic’s side picked up a 5-2 win over Changchun Yatai.
Editing by Clare Fallon