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CSL preview: Chasing pack hunting Shandong

Shandong Luneng will be out to build on their strong start to the Chinese Super League season on Saturday as the battle for top spot continues.

League leaders Shandong returned to winning ways last time out and go into the seventh round with a one-point advantage at the top.

But undefeated trio Qingdao Jonoon, Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Guoan are all within three points early in the campaign.

Shandong Luneng should maintain top spot as they travel to ninth-placed Hangzhou on Saturday.

Qingdao Jonoon travel to Liaoning Whowin on Sunday, while Beijing visit mid-table outfit Dalian Aerbin on Saturday.

Guangzhou R&F take on city rivals Evergrande and must stop star Brazilian forward Elkeson to have any chance of getting something out of the encounter.

Since joining from Botafogo, Elkeson has struck 10 goals in five matches to move clear as the top-scorer in the league.

The 23-year-old has scored in every match so far, including hat-tricks against Jiangsu Sainty and Changchun Yatai.

Guangzhou R&F striker Yakubu, formerly of Everton and Portsmouth, has netted three goals this season and is sure to be a threat.

In another city derby, Shanghai Shenhua – undefeated but sitting 12th after starting the season with a six-point penalty – host Shanghai SIPG.

Shenhua have made a bright start after the points deduction while their rivals are sixth, unbeaten in five matches.

At the other end of the table, Tianjin Teda will be looking for their first win when they welcome fellow strugglers Wuhan Zall.

Docked six points for match-fixing, Tianjin Teda’s three draws see them sitting on -3 points, four behind Wuhan Zall.

Changchun Yatai are also eyeing their first victory of the campaign and have a good opportunity to collect three points when Jiangsu Sainty visit on Saturday.

Thu 25 April, 2013
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