CSL Preview: Shandong aim to leapfrog R&F

Third place in the Chinese Super League beckons for Shandong Luneng on Thursday if they can win away to Guangzhou R&F.

Having ended a three-game losing streak on Sunday thanks to a 3-3 draw with Shanghai East Asia, fourth-placed Shandong can leapfrog R&F and move into third position by triumphing at Yuexiushan Stadium for the third time in four visits.

R&F have beaten Shandong just once since November 2003 and lost 2-1 to Guizhou Renhe on Saturday.

Shandong coach Cuca will remind his players they have won five of their past six meetings with R&F, including both fixtures last season.

Cuca can also call on one of the leading scorers in the Chinese Super League in Vagner Love.

The former CSKA Moscow and Flamengo striker has found the net eight times this season, putting him fifth in the goalscoring standings, three behind leader Elkeson of Guangzhou Evergrande.

However, R&F also have plenty of firepower - they are the second-highest scorers in the league behind local rivals Evergrande, while both Davi and Abderrazak Hamdallah have contributed nine goals.

Evergrande lead the Chinese Super League with 30 points after a 4-1 weekend victory over Hangzhou.

The reigning champions will look to stretch their advantage further when they host Guizhou on Wednesday.

Beijing Guoan are second in the table, three points behind Evergrande and five ahead of R&F.

Guoan face Hangzhou and will be eager to take advantage of any slip-up from Evergrande.

Changchun Yatai will attempt to avoid a fourth straight defeat when they host Liaoning Whowin, while Tianjin Teda will visit Dalian Aerbin and Henan Jianye face Shanghai Shenxin.


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