Rondon scores brace to rescue point for Benitez in China

Former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon won a soft penalty and then scored it in the third minute of injury time in a 2-2 stalemate with FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua. — Action Images pic via Reuters
Former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon won a soft penalty and then scored it in the third minute of injury time in a 2-2 stalemate with FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua. — Action Images pic via Reuters

SHANGHAI, Aug 10 — Former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon scored twice to rescue a point for Rafael Benitez’s struggling Dalian Pro in the Chinese Super League today.

Benitez, a former Real Madrid coach and Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005, is still searching for his first win in four games this season.

Rondon won a soft penalty and then scored it in the third minute of injury time in a 2-2 stalemate with FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua.

The 30-year-old Venezuelan, who was with Benitez at Premier League Newcastle before both moved to China last summer, also scored in the 66th minute as Dalian twice came from behind.

Dalian have taken just two points from a maximum 12 and the 60-year-old Benitez is struggling to live up to his nickname — in China they call him a “master tactician”.

But the Spaniard, who at times wiped his face with a white towel such was the heat and humidity in Dalian, will be grateful for even a point after Rondon went down in the box late on under minimal contact to win the penalty.

All matches in this year’s CSL are taking place behind closed doors in Dalian and Suzhou to minimise the risk of coronavirus infections. — AFP

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