(REUTERS) - Yannick Carrasco, Nicolas Gaitan and Jose Fonte were left in no doubt over the difficulty that new employers Dalian Yifang face in the Chinese Super League (CSL) as they kicked off the season with an 8-0 thrashing by Shanghai SIPG on Saturday (March 3).
The expensively acquired trio, who arrived from Atletico Madrid and West Ham respectively for a combined £50 million (S$91.1 million) all started for the second-division champions but they were overrun by last season's CSL and Chinese FA Cup runners-up, who began the new domestic campaign under new coach Vitor Pereira in impressive fashion.
Former Chelsea star Oscar and China international Wu Lei both got hat-tricks while ex-Porto striker Hulk scored from the penalty spot and Lu Wenjun added the eighth goal six minutes from time in a humiliating start for Dalian.
"To win 8-0 is the result of team work," said Pereira, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas as coach at the end of last season.
"It wasn't me out there scoring the goals but the players. I appreciate the spirit they showed and I want to also thank the fans.
"We had limited information on Dalian but I know their foreign players well. We knew we couldn't afford to give them any space to hit us on the counter-attack and I used some videos to show my players how we needed to deal with losing possession."
Beijing Renhe, who were also promoted to the top flight from China League One, also started the season with a defeat as Alan Kardec scored a penalty midway through the first half to give Chongqing Lifan all three points.
Zhang Chengdong scored with four minutes remaining to ensure Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei China Fortune avoided defeat in their opener against Tianjin Teda after Hui Jiakang had given the home side the lead in the first half.