World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi added the Chinese Super League title to his long list of honors yesterday 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 one match to play.
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 Italian could make it a league and cup double 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, with vast investment in big-name foreign players bringing positive headlines to the domestic game after years of match-fixing.
Shanghai Shenhua, who signed strikers Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka from European champions Chelsea, drew 0-0 away to Dalian Aerbin yesterday to ensure they avoided relegation.