Lippi leads Guangzhou to Chinese Super League title
SOCCER-ASIA-CHINA-LIPPI:Lippi leads Guangzhou to Chinese Super League title
REUTERS - World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi added the Chinese Super League title to his long list of honours after a late goal by Gao Lin meant Guangzhou Evergrande became the first side to retain the title.
The Chinese international striker scored in stoppage time as Lippi's big-spending side defeated Liaoning Whowin 1-0 away to leave them five points ahead of second-placed Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty with only the 30th and last match to come.
Lippi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, was appointed coach of Guangzhou in May, after controversially replacing highly successful South Korean Lee Jang-soo.
The well-paid Italian, who won numerous trophies with Serie A giants Juventus, could make it a league and cup double in his first season in charge with Guangzhou taking on Guizhou Moutaiwas in the two-legged final of the FA Cup next month.
The Chinese Super League has enjoyed a rebirth in recent times with vast investment in big-name foreign players bringing positive headlines to the domestic game after years of match-fixing, which resulted in the jailing of senior officials.
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 on Saturday to ensure they avoided relegation from the 16-team league.
(Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by John O'Brien)