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SIPG makes history at newcomer Dalian's expense

    Shanghai SIPG made Chinese Super League history over the weekend as it whitewashed newcomer Dalian Yifang 8-0 — to create the highest margin of victory — in the first round of the 2018 league.

    Both Oscar and Wu Lei scored hat-tricks in the massacre at Shanghai Stadium on Saturday evening, along with strikes by Hulk and Lv Wenjun, as Dalian received a bitter welcome in its return to China’s top-tier league.

    Compared to SIPG, which made little changes in its squad this year except for naming Portuguese Victor Pereira as new manager to take over from his countryman Andre Villas-Boas, Dalian invested heavily before the start of the season by signing Belgium international winger Yannick Carrasco and Argentina international Nicolas Gaitan from Atletico Madrid, Portuguese international Jose Fonte from West Ham United as well as China defender Yang Shanping (on loan) from Tianjin Quanjian.

    However, its first CSL match served as a rude awakening with Oscar scoring the opener just 30 seconds into kickoff. The Brazilian found the net again in the 24th minute before compatriot Hulk’s goal from the penalty spot gave SIPG a 3-0 lead at the break.

    Wu scored in the 60th and 65th before Oscar completed his hat-trick in the 75th. Wu and Lv Wenjun then added goals in the 83rd and 84th to create the CSL’s biggest victory margin.

    “To win 8-0 is the result of teamwork,” SIPG boss Pereira said afterwards. “We had limited information on Dalian but I know their foreign players well. We knew we couldn’t afford to give them any space to hit us on the counter-attack and I used some videos to show my players how we needed to deal with losing possession.”

    The last time such a big margin appeared in China’s top-tier league was in 1997 when Shanghai Shenhua lost 1-9 to Beijing Guo’an in the Jia A league.

    In the CSL era, the biggest scores were created in 2015 (when Guangzhou Evergrande beat Chongqing Lifan 7-0) and 2017 (when Shanghai Greenland Shenhua thumped Liaoning Whowin 8-1).

    SIPG’s attacking trio of Oscar, Hulk and Wu proved too much for Yifang, with its comparatively “aged” defense — 34-year-old Fonte, 39-year-old Zhou Ting, 35-year-old Wang Wanpeng and 32-year-old Zhu Ting.

    “The defenders played hard. But we made too many mistakes ourselves which led to the defeat and so many conceded goals,” Dalian manager Ma Lin said.

    SIPG’s second CSL match will be a derby against city rival Shenhua at Hongkou Football Stadium on March 10.

    In other key CSL matches, it was: Jiangsu 3, Guizhou 1; Shandong 3, Beijing 0; Shenhua 1, Changchun Yatai 1; Guangzhou R&F 5, Guangzhou Evergrande 4; and Hebei China Fortune 1, Tianjin Teda 1.