SHANGHAI: Brazil’s Alexandre Pato scored a goal of the season contender in the Chinese Super League with a stunning free-kick, earning begrudging praise from set-piece master David Beckham.
The 28-year-old former AC Milan starlet bent the ball brilliantly round the Shanghai SIPG wall in the 27th minute to draw Tianjin Quanjian level at 1-1.
The ball briefly appeared to be going wide, before arcing inwards and into the corner from at least 30 yards out.
It had shades of former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid star Beckham, who was renowned for his free-kicks.
Beckham, who knows Pato from their time together at Milan, wrote jokingly on Instagram to his former team-mate: “Nice goal my friend, maybe you saw this one from me.”
Pato replied: “My friend!! I was sure it would be fruitful to look at you always during training together.”
Pato has rediscovered his verve since arriving in China 18 months ago after a series of injuries curtailed his career in Europe.
The forward was ultimately upstaged on Wednesday night by his fellow Brazilian Oscar, who scored a brace for the second match running as SIPG won 4-1.
Yet it was Pato’s strike which made headlines, with England and Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also weighing in on Instagram to applaud the goal.
Two other Brazilians, Hulk and Elkeson, also scored for the hosts as SIPG went second behind leaders Shandong Luneng.
Beijing Guoan can go back top with victory over Chris Coleman’s Hebei China Fortune on Thursday. —AFP