Chinese Super League: Brazilian forward Alex Teixeira stars as Jiangsu Suning wins first league title

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Shanghai: Brazilian forward Alex Teixeira starred as Jiangsu Suning won their first Chinese Super League title with a 2-1 victory over Fabio Cannavaro’s 10-man Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday.

The second leg of the championship decider belonged to the 30-year-old Teixeira, who was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool before joining Jiangsu for 50 million euros in 2016.

In front of 9,386 spectators in Suzhou, the former Vasco da Gama and Shakhtar Donetsk man lit up what had been a dour tie for much of the two legs.

The first leg ended 0-0 and the return fixture was similarly devoid of goal-mouth action for most of the first half.

But with half-time approaching, up stepped Teixeira, dribbling two-thirds of the pitch at pace only to be pulled back as he was bearing down on Guangzhou’s goal.

After consulting with the video assistant referee (VAR), South Korean referee Ko Hyung-jin gave Jiangsu a free-kick just outside the box — their Romanian coach Cosmin Olaroiu was demanding a penalty — and sent off Guangzhou defender He Chao.

Eder, the Brazilian-born Italian international, hit his free-kick into the wall but former Barcelona star Paulinho turned his back and the ball ricocheted off him and into the net.

Guangzhou, the defending champions and winners of the CSL eight times, were rattled and just two minutes into the second half it was 2-0.

Their former Everton defender Tyias Browning made a mess of a long ball and Teixeira moved past him before firing low into the corner from outside the box.

Cannavaro, the legendary defender who lifted the World Cup for Italy in 2006, made a triple change on 52 minutes as Guangzhou’s crown slipped from their grasp.

Wei Shihao, who was brought off the bench after the tearful He was dismissed, halved the deficit just after the hour, but Jiangsu held on to make history.

Prior to this, their best showing in the CSL was twice runners-up, each time behind Guangzhou.

The CSL started in July, five months late and behind closed doors, with teams kept away from the public in two secure “bubbles” in Suzhou and Dalian to prevent coronavirus infections.

There were no reported virus cases and spectators were gradually allowed into stadiums in recent weeks.

Times2 Desk
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