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Pelle hits another brace to grab point for Fellaini’s Shandong


Shanghai (AFP) – Former Italy striker Graziano Pelle struck twice to earn Marouane Fellaini’s Shandong Luneng a 2-2 draw with holders Kashima Antlers in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

Former Manchester United star Fellaini had a quiet game in midfield for the hosts, who had Pelle — another Premier League import — to thank for rescuing a point.

It was the 33-year-old Pelle’s second brace in as many Champions League matches, having scored twice at South Korea’s Gyeongnam FC last week.

J-League side Kashima had looked set to run away with it, forward Sho Ito twice finishing slick team moves in the 10th and 14th minutes to stun Shandong.

But the imposing Pelle, who joined the Chinese Super League side from Southampton for about $17 million in July 2016, single-handedly dragged Shandong back into the match.

He buried the penalty on 20 minutes after Kento Misao handled in the box and then arrowed the ball into the top corner four minutes before the break on the half-volley.

The 31-year-old Fellaini, who left Manchester United for Shandong in the winter transfer window, had his head in his hands in the 65th minute after putting a free header over the bar following a corner.

Leo Silva should have sealed victory for the Japanese side with two minutes left, but he mis-hit his first-time effort from close range with only goalkeeper Wang Dalei to beat.

The entertaining stalemate leaves Kashima top of Group E with four points from two games. Shandong are second with two points after successive 2-2 draws.

Gyeongnam travel to Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia later Tuesday in the other group game.

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