Beijing: Marcello Lippi`s Guangzhou Evergrande clinched their fourth successive Chinese Super League title Sunday, finishing three points ahead of second-placed Beijing Guoan after both sides drew their final matches of the season.
Beijing could have stolen the title from Guangzhou if the 2013 Asian champions had lost their match at Shandong Luneng and if Guoan had won at home against strugglers Henan Jianye.
Evergrande had to overcome a scare after Liu Binbin opened the scoring on 12 minutes, sparking celebrations among the home supporters and at a chilly Workers` Stadium in Beijing when news of the goal filtered through.
But Brazilian Elkeson levelled the score just before half-time to calm the nerves of the World Cup-winning Lippi and take his own incredible goal-scoring tally for the season to 28 goals in 28 league games.
Beijing, meanwhile, dominated possession, but failed to find the net against a plucky Henan side who finish the season one place above relegated Dalian Aerbin.
It was an attacking display from Beijing, who had pushed Guangzhou all the way thanks to a terrific late-season surge which saw them win their seven previous matches -- most recently against Lippi`s men in Guangdong last week.
Guangzhou lost four games over the 30-game season, three more than in their historic 2013 season.
But with Elkeson on fire, they have again been free-scoring, netting 76 goals -- nine more than Sven-Goran Eriksson`s Guangzhou R&F, who finished third, and 26 more than Beijing.
Harbin Yiteng finished bottom of the CSL and will be relegated along with Dalian.
Shanghai Shenhua, the former club of Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, finished mid-table in ninth position.