SHANGHAI: A brace from ex-Internazionale midfielder Fredy Guarin helped Shanghai Shenhua triumph 3-2 over Jiangsu Suning at the weekend in the first ever Chinese Super League match to be broadcast live in Britain.
Guarin sealed victory for Shenhua with a deflected drive from outside the box 10 minutes from time in a nail-biting Yangtze delta derby.
Visitors Suning had taken the lead at 21 minutes with a fortuitous header from Colombian international striker Roger Martinez, which bounced freakishly over home goalkeeper Li Shuai and into the net.
But Martinez’ compatriot Guarin equalized for Shenhua from the penalty spot just seven minutes later, after former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins was bundled over in the box.
Martinez put Suning back in the lead just before halftime thanks to some slack defending, but Shenhua’s Martins leveled the scores from close range on the hour mark, before Guarin hit the winner in front of nearly 24,000 fans.
The Chinese league was long known for scandals and corruption but has drawn attention more recently for paying vast sums to secure foreign talent, including around $61 million for Brazilian forward Hulk last month.
Saturday’s match at Shanghai’s Hongkou stadium was the first CSL contest to be televised live in Britain after broadcaster Sky Sports announced last week that it had secured a three-year deal to show matches.
Sky transmitted its second live CSL encounter on Sunday, when former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG battled to a 3-3 draw with the Swede’s previous club Guangzhou R&F.
The Guangzhou side was seconds away from victory, until Wu Lei snatched a point for SIPG with a last-minute penalty, completing his hattrick.
Elsewhere, leaders Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Guangzhou Evergrande won 2-1 away at Henan Jianye, putting them 10 points ahead of second-placed Jiangsu Suning.