Soccer-Late Augusto penalty keeps Guoan on top

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 (Reuters) - Renato Augusto’s late penalty ensured Beijing Guoan returned to the top of the Chinese Super League standings on Wednesday as the Brazilian’s spot kick earned Roger Schmidt’s side a 2-1 win over Beijing Renhe.

Guoan remain two points clear of Guangzhou Evergrande and defending champions Shanghai SIPG as the club from the capital notched up their 16th win in 18 games so far this season.

Wang Zimin gave Guoan the perfect start when he nodded home with six minutes on the clock, but Makhete Diop’s leveller from a deflected free kick a minute after the hour mark looked set to give struggling Renhe a share of the points.

Renato Augusto’s penalty nine minutes from time restored Guoan to the top of the table, although their joy was tempered by news that Jonathan Viera had broken his ribs and is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks.

“It wasn’t beautiful today but we’re happy to get the three points,” said Schmidt.

“There are always a few games like this in a season so I’m very happy to win this game.”

Guoan were playing catch up on Wednesday after Evergrande secured a 4-1 win over Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Yifang 24 hours earlier that temporarily put them on top.

Qin Sheng had given Dalian the lead but a hat-trick from former Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho ensured Guangzhou took all three points to keep the pressure on Beijing while Dalian slip back to ninth.

Shanghai SIPG also managed to maintain their two-point gap to the leaders with a comfortable 3-0 win over Hebei CFFC following goals from Chen Binbin, Hulk and Oscar.

Graziano Pelle was on target as Shandong Luneng earned a 2-1 win over bottom side Tianjin Tianhai to remain in fourth while Chongqing Lifan defeated Shenzhen FC 2-0.

Choi Kang-hee won his first game as Shanghai Shenhua coach with his fellow South Korean Kim Shin-wook on target in a 3-2 win over Henan Jianye, who were reduced to 10 men in the 34th minute when Han Xuan was sent off.

Eran Zahavi scored a brace to take his tally for the season to a league-leading 22 goals in Guangzhou R&F’s 2-1 victory over Tianjin Teda. Jiangsu Suning’s winless run stretched to five games after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Wuhan Zall. (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)