HONG KONG : Wuhan Three Towns maintained their tenuous grip on top spot in the Chinese Super League standings on Friday despite slipping to a 1-0 defeat by Chengdu Rongcheng as title-chasing Shandong Taishan lost 2-0 to Shanghai Port.
With two games remaining, Wuhan retain first place by virtue of a better goal difference over defending champions Shandong while at the other end of the table eight-time champions Guangzhou FC moved closer to relegation.
Guangzhou, whose position of dominance in Chinese football has come to an end due to the financial troubles of owners China Evergrande, were beaten 3-1 by Beijing Guoan to drop to 17th in the 18-team division.
Guangzhou City’s 4-1 win over already-relegated Hebei FC leaves Zheng Zhi’s side three points from safety with only six points available as 16th placed Wuhan Yangtze kept their survival hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Dalian Pro.
Wuhan Three Towns suffered their first defeat in four league games when Brazilian forward Felipe struck two minutes into stoppage time to earn Chengdu a 1-0 victory and deny Pedro Morillo’s side an advantage over faltering Shandong.
The champions went into their meeting with Shanghai Port off the back of an 8-0 win over Shenzhen FC on Monday, but found goals impossible to come by in Jinjiang.
Cherif Ndiaye gave Port, champions in 2018, the lead in the ninth minute and Liu Zhurun put the result beyond doubt a minute from time as Shanghai moved up to fourth.
Shanghai and Chengdu are now level on 59 points with third-placed Zhejiang FC, who saw their meeting with Tianjin Tigers postponed due to the current nationwide COVID-19 outbreak with Henan Longmen’s meeting with Shenzhen also called off.
Elsewhere, Meizhou Hakka defeated Changchun Yatai 1-0 and Shanghai Shenhua handed Cangzhou Mighty Lions a 3-0 loss.