CSL Preview: Evergrande host city rivals

Guangzhou Evergrande face city rivals Guangzhou R and F on Friday as the Chinese Super League leaders aim to go six points clear.

Marcello Lippi's side have only failed to win once in 10 league games so far this season – a 3-1 home defeat to Changchun Yatai on March 23.

The reigning champions responded to that defeat with seven consecutive victories in the league and now sit at the table's summit with 27 points, three more than Beijing Guoan in second.

Evergrande's opponents on Friday have also only lost once this season, but four draws – including each of their last two league fixtures – sees them sitting in third, eight points from the top of the table ahead of their trip across Guangzhou.

In recent times, meetings between the two sides have been fairly even, with Evergrande winning three and losing two of their previous five clashes, but Lippi's side go into Friday's contest full of confidence after a morale-boosting 5-1 win at Cerezo Osaka in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

"We rested several key players but still won," said the Italian. "It was a hard game for us but we grabbed the full points and this result was all the more important.

"Every week the team gives me fresh gifts by winning more matches."

Second-placed Guoan face a seemingly straightforward home match with Liaoning Whowin in Saturday's early match, but they will be hoping to produce a more prolific display in front of goal having netted more than once in a single game only three times this season.

Shandong Luneng will be looking to bounce back from consecutive domestic defeats and leap up into the top three when they head to Shanghai Shenhua on Saturday, but they have only won away against their visitors once since 2006.

Yatai – Evergrande's only conquerors this season – linger towards the bottom of the table with nine points and they host mid-table Jiangsu Sainty on Sunday, while bottom-of-the-league Harbin Yiteng travel to Dalian Aerbin.

Tianjin Teda, who are the other side in the bottom two, will be welcomed by Henan Jianye, with the hosts hoping to capitalise on last week's 4-3 victory at Jiangsu.

Hangzhou can edge closer to the top three if they can beat struggling Shanghai Shenxin at home on Saturday, with the away side without a league victory in four.

Shanghai SIPG host Guizhou Renhe, as both target a triumph to catapult themselves towards the AFC Champions League places.