Paulinho inflicts first loss on Benitez in China
Rafael Benitez lost his first match since taking charge of Dalian Yifang on Tuesday as a Paulinho hat-trick inspired Guangzhou Evergrande to a 4-1 win in the Chinese Super League.
Having already overseen two victories, former Newcastle United manager Benitez looked to be heading for a commendable draw before a late collapse at Tianhe Stadium.
Qin Sheng had given Dalian the lead 11 minutes in before Paulinho cancelled that out before the half-hour mark.
The visitors looked set to keep Fabio Cannavaro's side at bay in the closing stages until Paulinho struck again in the 83rd minute, and the former Barcelona man completed his treble with a stylish piece of skill and finish in injury time. Elkeson added an impudent fourth moments before the final whistle, as Guangzhou claimed a win that puts them a point clear at the top of the table, having played a game more than Beijing Guoan. Dalian, meanwhile, stay in eighth.