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QINGDAO TODAY
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Sports -> 
SIPG claims its first CSL title
    2018-11-09  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

SHANGHAI SIPG won its first Chinese Super League (CSL) title with one game in hand after the side beat Beijing Renhe 2-1 at home Wednesday.

SIPG got 68 points in the table after the win, 8 points more than the second-place defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande, which had won  seven consecutive CSL titles from 2011 to 2017. The Guangzhou team lost to Chongqing Lifan 2-0 Wednesday.

Fabio Cannavaro’s failure to steer Evergrande to an eighth CSL crown in a row will see the Italian legend’s future as coach thrown into doubt after a single campaign at the helm.

In contrast, SIPG coach Vitor Pereira has achieved what his more famous predecessor Andre Villas-Boas could not, winning the club’s first major trophy since its founding in 2005.

SIPG, which has the expensive Brazilian duo of Oscar and Hulk, wrapped up the title with a game to spare.

Pereira, a former Porto coach last seen taking 1860 Munich into Germany’s third tier, praised the “spirit” of his side.

“We broke seven years of titles of Guangzhou and this is a big issue, a big challenge, and we won the challenge,” the Portuguese said.

“(In my) first year in China. For my career, it is good for me, I am very happy.

“I hope next season we will be here again to fight for another title.”

On a wet night at Shanghai Stadium, Uzbek international Odil Akhmedov put the champions-elect ahead in the 20th minute with a sumptuous curling effort from outside the box.

Prolific Chinese international Wu Lei made it 2-0 just after half-time, only for Senegalese striker Makhete Diop to hit back for the visitors.

The pivotal moment in the season came Saturday, when Pereira’s side triumphed 5-4 at Cannavaro’s Guangzhou in what was effectively a title-decider.

Chinese soccer is attracting global interest because of the vast sums shelled out to lure the likes of Oscar and Hulk.

Forward Wu was arguably the standout performer over the last eight months, however, topping the CSL scoring charts with 27 goals, including his deflected strike against Beijing.

Winning the title justifies SIPG’s decision to hire Pereira after his fellow Portuguese Villas-Boas quit following a turbulent 2016-2017 campaign during which the former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager failed to lift a trophy. “I have to thank my club because they put their trust in us and they deserved this title,” Pereira said.(SD-Xinhua)

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