BEIJING: Marcello Lippi marked his title-winning comeback by guiding Guangzhou Evergrande to the Chinese Super League after a 1-0 away win over Liaoning Whowin .
A stioppage-time goal by Gao Lin meant Guangzhou Evergrande became the first side to retain the title and rewarded the work of Lippi whose last success was in leading Italy to World Cup victory in 2006. Guangzhou ladd second-placed Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty with one match remaining.
Lippi was a controversial replacement last May for successful South Korean Lee Jang-soo. He could yet secure a league and cup double when Guangzhou play Guizhou Moutaiwas in next month’s two-leg final of the Chinese Cup.
Guangzhou’s success will be seen as a significant watershed for the Chinese professional game after the clubs’ investment in big-name foreign veterans after a string of matchfixing trials weeded out a string of corrupt directors, officials, referees and players.
Lippi’s side, who were knocked out of the Asian Champions League in the quarter-finals by Saudi Arabians Al-Ittihad earlier this month, boast the attacking South American trio of Argentine Dario Conca and Brazilian duo Cleo and Muriqui.
Shanghai Shenhua, who signed strikers Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka from European champions Chelsea, drew 0-0 away to Dalian Aerbin to ensure their escape from the threat of relegation.
** Bruno Metsu, the French former coach of Senegal and the United Arab Emirates, had stepped down as manager of Dubai-based Al Wasl after only three months following a diagnosis of stomach cancer.
Metsu, 58, replaced Diego Maradona in July. Assistant Gilles Morisseau will take over as caretaker manager in the interim period.
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