2 off as SIPG held by R&F in volatile Guangzhou clash

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Midfielder Li Tixiang was given a straight red card.

Shanghai SIPG was held 1-1 by Guangzhou R&F in a fiery Chinese Super League clash in Guangdong Province last night, with the visitor's playmaker Oscar pushed to the ground just before the half-time whistle.

The fracas occurred in injury time of the first half. The home team thought Oscar had deliberately hit its players with the ball. The Brazilian was then pushed down by R&F's Chen Zhizhao while midfielder Li Tixiang allegedly stepped on Oscar before players from both sides got into a scuffle. They were soon separated by team staff who rushed onto the pitch.

The skirmish was particularly dangerous as Oscar was still lying on the ground and could easily have been hurt by players milling around him. Li received a red card while Chen was shown a yellow. SIPG defender Fu Huan was also given his marching orders.

The match started in heavy rain, with both sides creating several chances in the opening half an hour.

The first goal came in the 30th when R&F's Eran Zahavi fired a shot 50 yards from goal. SIPG goalie Yan Junling managed to get a touch on the ball, but it deflected into the net.

Hulk equalized in the 44th from a fast counter-attack. The Brazilian rushed with the ball and played a wonderful one-two with compatriot Oscar, before beating R&F goalie Cheng Yuelei to claim his 9th CSL goal of the season. Oscar was suspected to be offside though when receiving the pass from Hulk.

Both teams, having forced to play the second half a man short, failed to add to the tally. The draw slowed down SIPG's chase of CSL leader Guangzhou Evergrande, which heads the table on 34 points — 4 more than SIPG.

Evergrande beat Guizhou Hengfeng 2-0 away on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua drew 2-2 with Chongqing Lifan at Hongkou Football Stadium. Chongqing took the lead twice but Cao Yunding and Mao Jianqing brought the hosts on level, with Carlos Tevez assisting on Cao's goal.

South Korean defender Kim Kee-hee replaced captain Giovanni Moreno in the line-up as the Colombian had just returned from national duty.

Gus Poyet's team is now 10th in the 16-team standing on 13 points. The Uruguayan apologized to fans for not being able to give them a long-waited victory in the past six rounds.

"We did well in attack today, but made two big mistakes in defense and conceded two goals," Poyet said. "I ask the players to fight hard and show strong desire for victory. But as the coach, I am responsible for the result."

Poyet was pleased with Tevez's performance on Saturday, saying the Argentine showed the right team spirit.

Meanwhile, Shenhua spokesman said yesterday that the club would start contract extension talks with Moreno and his Colombian compatriot Fredy Guarin today. Guarin's contract ends at the end of this year while Moreno's lasts until next July.

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