Shanghai SIPG missed the chance to go into a three-way tie at the top of the Chinese Super League on Sunday as an injury-time equaliser from Ding Jie secured a 1-1 draw for Chongqing Lifan.
He Guan had given Andre Villas-Boas’ side the lead seven minutes after the break, only for Ding to score from close range in the fourth minute of added time and move Chongqing up to eighth.
“This result was not what we were expecting,” Villas-Boas said. “We had a pretty good performance over the 90 minutes and a draw was not consistent with that. We missed some good opportunities.
“We could have led by two goals, and we were the better side in the second half.
“We will have eight matches in May, so we will have to use players in rotation. We have to watch out to avoid players becoming over-exhausted.”
Shanghai SIPG remain third, two points behind Guangzhou Evergrande and Guangzhou R&F, with the latter top of the standings thanks to their superior goal difference.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side went top on Saturday with a 4-2 win over Henan Jianye, having seen R&F suffer a surprise 3-1 defeat to Guizhou Zhicheng on Friday.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch