Shanghai Shenhua beat last-place Wuhan Zall 2-1 amid tumultuous scenes at Hongkou Football Stadium last night, with all three goals coming from the penalty spot.
Wuhan’s Garra Dembele was upended in the box 15 minutes into the game. The Mali striker took the penalty himself to open the score. Shenhua’s Giovanni Moreno was fouled by Wuhan defender Zhu Ting in the 39th when attempting a header in front of the goal and the Colombian found the net from the resulting penalty.
With the scores tied controversy erupted in second-half injury time after the Thai referee gave the hosts a lifeline by pointing to the spot following a foul by Wuhan defender Jacques Faty. The last-minute call sparked angry scenes, with Wuhan’s Zhu Ting sent off on a red card for aggressive behavior.
Through the tumult Shenhua’s Syrian striker Firas al-Khatib stayed cool to successfully slot home the winner.
An irate Zhu was still trying to reach the referee after the final whistle but was held back and kept pinned to the grass by teammates.
With the victory, Shenhua climbed up to sixth in the 16-team Chinese Super League on 29 points while Wuhan is last with 13 points after 23 rounds.
League leader Guangzhou Evergrande fell 0-1 away to Tianjin Teda yesterday. Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu headed in the winner on a free kick in the 15th. Despite the loss, the defending champion, on 60 points, has a comfortable 14-point lead over Shandong Luneng.
Shandong also lost 0-1 to visiting Shanghai Shenxin in a Friday match. Shenxin is still the lowest ranked Shanghai team, placing 12th with 25 points. Shanghai East Asia lies tenth on 26 points.
The league will now take a two-week break for the National Games taking place in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, resuming on September 14.