SHANGHAI: Shanghai SIPG grabbed their first Chinese Super League victory in six games on Sunday, just days after reportedly breaking the Asian transfer record to land Brazilian forward Hulk.
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side beat Hebei China Fortune 2-0 away from home, as the team’s new 55 million euro ($61 million) signing from Zenit St Petersburg stayed behind in Shanghai to regain match fitness, having yet to make his debut.
Brazilian striker Elkeson put SIPG ahead with neat turn and shot from the edge of the area in the 69th minute before Chinese international forward Wu Lei sealed the win three minutes from time with a goal following a mazy run.
“Our performance today was more like that of a strong team,” said Eriksson after the match. “I hope this can be the turning point in our season.”
Due to Super League’s foreign player limits, one of SIPG’s current overseas imports must leave to make way for Hulk, with former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan the most likely to depart according to local media.
When asked about the Ghana international’s future in Shanghai, Eriksson said: “Sorry, I am not clear at the moment on what is going to happen with Asamoah.”
Hebei were missing their own marquee signing, former Paris Saint-Germain winger Ezequiel Lavezzi, who broke his arm whilst playing for Argentina in the Copa America last month.
The win saw fourth place SIPG close the gap with third placed Hebei to three points, but Eriksson’s side trail leaders Guangzhou Evergrande, who beat struggling Shandong Luneng 2-0 on Sunday, by 12 points with the Chinese season now just past its halfway point.
Jiangsu Suning leapfrogged Hebei into second place after former Chelsea forward Ramires and ex-Manchester City striker Jo netted in a 4-3 win over Liaoning Whowin.