Marouane Fellaini, who spent three weeks in hospital with coronavirus, scored a quickfire hat-trick of headers to give Shandong Luneng a 3-2 win over Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Pro on Sunday in China.
Former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon looked to have given Benitez’s side a winning start to the Chinese Super League (CSL) season with a 57th-minute header of his own.
But former Manchester United star Fellaini then roared to the fore with three towering headers in the 79th, 83rd and 86th minutes in Dalian.
Spanish coach Benitez, who took Liverpool to Champions League glory, could only look on in stunned bemusement.
Swedish international defender Marcus Danielson pulled a goal back for Dalian deep into stoppage time.
The 32-year-old Fellaini is the only known coronavirus case in the CSL and spent three weeks in hospital in China before his release in mid-April.
Shandong said he was asymptomatic and the giant Belgian midfielder posted pictures on social media of him doing exercises in his hospital bedroom.
The CSL kicked off on Saturday five months late because of coronavirus.
All matches are being played behind closed doors in two cities, Suzhou and Dalian, to limit the risk of infections.