KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Shanghai SIPG were held to a goalless draw by Jiangsu Suning on Sunday as the lead of Vitor Periera’s side at the top of the Chinese Super League standings was trimmed to two points with four games of the season remaining.
The draw means defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande have closed the gap on their title rivals after a 6-1 thrashing of Beijing Renhe on Saturday kept the pressure on Pereira and his side.
SIPG were playing the first of three games without the Portuguese coach, who was serving a touchline ban, while Brazilian Hulk was also missing from the line-up due to suspension.
“It was an exciting game and both sides played well, with a lot of strength but it was very hard to create scoring chances,” said SIPG assistant coach Felipe Almeida.
“It was the same for Suning. We were trying hard to score and it’s a shame we didn’t get the three points in the end.
“We’ll continue to fight and try to win the next game.”
Evergrande ensured they stayed within touching distance of SIPG when Fabio Cannavaro’s team demolished last season’s second division runners-up Beijing Renhe to secure their fourth league win in a row.
Zheng Long scored twice while Paulinho and Alan Carvalho also put their names on the scoreboard in a comprehensive win for Evergrande, who are due to host SIPG in a title decider at Tianhe Stadium on Nov. 3.
Meanwhile, Beijing Guoan’s hopes of securing a place in next season’s Asian Champions League with a top three finish suffered a hit due to a 1-1 draw with Changchun Yatai on Sunday afternoon, with Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano salvaging a point for Roger Schmidt’s team from the penalty spot ininjury time.
That result leaves the capital side two points adrift of Shandong Luneng, who eased to a comfortable 2-0 win over Tianjin Teda from goals from Graziano Pelle and Roger Guedes.
Bottom side Guizhou Zhencheng enhanced their chances of avoiding relegation with a 3-0 win over Dalian Yifang and closed to within four points of safety after 14th placed Chongqing Yatai were held to a 4-4 draw by Chris Coleman’s Hebei China Fortune.
Henan Jianye also boosted their hopes of escaping the bottom two with their second victory in three games with a 2-0 success over Guangzhou R&F courtesy of goals from Fernando Karanga and Ricardo Vaz Te.
Tianjin Quanjian ended their run of five consecutive defeats in all competitions with a 1-1 draw away to Shanghai Shenhua in coach Park Choong-kyun’s first game in charge of the club.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Pritha Sarkar