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Scolari drawing curtain on CSL

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-06 07:42

Scolari drawing curtain on CSL

Luiz Felipe Scolari, coach of CSL champion Guangzhou Evergrande, joins his players for a celebratory drink after Saturday's final round of the league competition. XINHUA

Guangzhou's Brazilian boss thanks fans

GUANGZHOU - Luiz Felipe Scolari thanked the Guangzhou Evergrande players and fans on Saturday after what was likely his final game in charge at the freshly crowned Chinese Super League champion.

The 68-year-old Brazilian was not on the bench for the 2-1 home loss to Tianjin Quanjian because of suspension, but he was on the pitch afterwards to see his side lift the CSL trophy.

Guangzhou last month wrapped up a seventh title on the bounce, with two games to spare, and Scolari thanked the crowd over the public address system at Tianhe Stadium on Saturday: "First of all, thanks to all of you for your support and company along the way.

"Thank you Guangzhou Evergrande for bringing me to China and to Guangzhou, where I spent a sweet two-and-a-half years with you."

Turning to his triumphant squad and with a sweep of his arm, the former Brazil and Portugal national coach added: "Finally, I sincerely thank these young men in front of me - you are the best."

Guangzhou has kept tight-lipped amid media speculation that Scolari will not renew his contract in the southern city.

Reports say that Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro could be the man to replace Scolari at Guangzhou.

Ironically, it was Cannavaro's Tianjin who made it a losing finish to Scolari's reign.

The final-day victory for Tianjin, coupled with a loss by Hebei China Fortune, vaulted Tianjin into a third-place finish and means it will contest the AFC Champions League playoffs next season.

Cannavaro's men went ahead in the 18th minute when Anthony Modeste punished poor marking to fire in from close range.

It was the Frenchman's seventh goal since arriving from Cologne in Germany during the summer transfer window.

It was a game of few chances, and with the league title in the bag for the host it had the feel of an exhibition match.

There was a flare-up six minutes from halftime when Guangzhou's Brazilian forward Alan nudged Wang Yongpo off the ball and the tattooed Tianjin midfielder comically tumbled to the turf.

He was soon up and Singaporean referee Muhammad Bin Jahari, one of the foreign officials drafted late in the CSL season to improve the standard of domestic officiating, waved both players away.

Tianjin made it 2-0 on the hour when Sun Ke slotted into an empty net from the 6-yard box as the home defense disappeared

Cannavaro, the former Guangzhou boss linked in Chinese media with a return there, implored his side to keep pushing for more goals.

But it was the champion that scored minutes later, defender Feng Xiaoting nodding in unmarked from close range to set up a tight finish.

Guangzhou finished the season six points clear of Andre Villas-Boas's Shanghai SIPG in second.

Tianjin jumped into third over Hebei after Manuel Pellegrini's side went down 5-4 in a thriller away at Shandong Luneng.

Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Argentine striker, scored a hat-trick for Hebei, but so did Shandong's Diego Tardelli.

The Brazilian international's third goal, a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time, was the winner.

SIPG, which will contest the FA Cup final against local rival Shanghai Shenhua over two legs this month, finished second despite losing 3-2 at home to Fabio Capello's Jiangsu Suning.

Agence France-presse

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