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Reds stun Kawasaki to reach Asian semifinal

Urawa Reds forward Toshiyuki Takagi, right, fights for the ball with Kawasaki Frontale defender Elsinho during the AFC Champions League quarterfinal match between Urawa Reds and Kawasaki Frontale in Saitama, Japan, on Wednesday. (AFP)
SAITAMA, Japan: Urawa Reds scored three goals in a 15-minute blitz to floor Japanese rivals Kawasaki Frontale 4-1 in a fiery encounter Wednesday and reach the Asian Champions League semifinal.
Slovenian Zlatan Ljubijankic, Brazilian Rafael Silva and Toshiyuki Takagi all scored late goals against 10-man Kawasaki as the home side overturned a two-goal deficit to win 5-4 on aggregate.
The Reds, who won Asia's premier club competition in 2007, will face China's Shanghai SIPG in the last four after a see-saw struggle.
Brazilian Elsinho put Kawasaki in front after 19 minutes, flicking the ball home after a comic error from goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa to stretch their lead to three goals after winning the first leg 3-1.
But Shinzo Koroki pulled one back for Urawa in the 35th minute before the tie took a dramatic twist moments later when Frontale defender Shintaro Kurumaya was sent off for a high boot that caught Koroki in the face.
At times it appeared that both teams were more interested in fisticuffs and rolling on the ground in mock agony than playing football, while several shots were more of a threat to low-flying aircraft than the goalkeepers.
But when substitute Ljubijankic headed Urawa's second of the night to make it 4-3 on aggregate, Kawasaki began to look frayed and a Rafael Silva bullet levelled the tie on 83 minutes.
As Kawasaki wilted in the humid conditions, Takagi's shin connected with an attempted left-foot volley two minutes later and the ball looped over goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong for a dramatic winner.
"To be honest, that goal wasn't 100 percent how I planned to hit it but it went in so I'll take it," said Takagi sheepishly. "We've come this far so we have to make sure we reach the final now."
Urawa, currently eighth in the J-League table, face Andre Villas-Boas's Shanghai side away on September 27 in the first leg of their semi-final.
The return fixture will be played on October 18.
Japanese sides have struggled in the Asian Champions League since Urawa's victory in 2007 and Gamba Osaka's triumph a year later, and Shanghai SIPG will go into the semifinal as firm favorites.
Shanghai Shenhua drops 'overweight' Tevez
Handsomely paid Carlos Tevez is overweight and will not play again for Shanghai Shenhua until he gets fit, the Chinese club's new coach has warned.
The 33-year-old Tevez is one of the best-paid players on the planet on reported weekly wages of about €730,000 (US$870,000) but has scored just twice this season and missed half the games with injury.
The former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus star has hinted that he will quit China at the end of the season in November and has been branded "very homesick boy" by angry Shenhua fans and Chinese media.
Tevez recently returned to the country from a two-week break in his native Argentina to seek treatment for a leg-muscle injury.
He was jeered when he came on as a substitute last weekend in a 2-1 home defeat, and Wu Jingui, who took over after Gus Poyet quit as coach on Monday, is taking a hardline stance.
"I had a talk with him today about tactics, but I won't let him play for now, he isn't physically ready," Wu said in an interview published Wednesday with the Shanghai Morning Post.
"Both him and (Colombian Fredy) Guarin are overweight. I need to be responsible to the team and responsible to the players.
"When you are on the pitch, if you can't play at 100 percent, then it is completely meaningless." It is the latest sorry chapter in Tevez's turbulent nine months in China.
SAITAMA, Japan: Urawa Reds scored three goals in a 15-minute blitz to floor Japanese rivals Kawasaki Frontale 4-1 in a fiery encounter Wednesday and reach the Asian Champions League semifinal.
Slovenian Zlatan Ljubijankic, Brazilian Rafael Silva and Toshiyuki Takagi all scored late goals against 10-man Kawasaki as the home side overturned a two-goal deficit to win 5-4 on aggregate.
The Reds, who won Asia's premier club competition in 2007, will face China's Shanghai SIPG in the last four after a see-saw struggle.
Brazilian Elsinho put Kawasaki in front after 19 minutes, flicking the ball home after a comic error from goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa to stretch their lead to three goals after winning the first leg 3-1.
But Shinzo Koroki pulled one back for Urawa in the 35th minute before the tie took a dramatic twist moments later when Frontale defender Shintaro Kurumaya was sent off for a high boot that caught Koroki in the face.
At times it appeared that both teams were more interested in fisticuffs and rolling on the ground in mock agony than playing football, while several shots were more of a threat to low-flying aircraft than the goalkeepers.
But when substitute Ljubijankic headed Urawa's second of the night to make it 4-3 on aggregate, Kawasaki began to look frayed and a Rafael Silva bullet levelled the tie on 83 minutes.
As Kawasaki wilted in the humid conditions, Takagi's shin connected with an attempted left-foot volley two minutes later and the ball looped over goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong for a dramatic winner.
"To be honest, that goal wasn't 100 percent how I planned to hit it but it went in so I'll take it," said Takagi sheepishly. "We've come this far so we have to make sure we reach the final now."
Urawa, currently eighth in the J-League table, face Andre Villas-Boas's Shanghai side away on September 27 in the first leg of their semi-final.
The return fixture will be played on October 18.
Japanese sides have struggled in the Asian Champions League since Urawa's victory in 2007 and Gamba Osaka's triumph a year later, and Shanghai SIPG will go into the semifinal as firm favorites.
Shanghai Shenhua drops 'overweight' Tevez
Handsomely paid Carlos Tevez is overweight and will not play again for Shanghai Shenhua until he gets fit, the Chinese club's new coach has warned.
The 33-year-old Tevez is one of the best-paid players on the planet on reported weekly wages of about €730,000 (US$870,000) but has scored just twice this season and missed half the games with injury.
The former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus star has hinted that he will quit China at the end of the season in November and has been branded "very homesick boy" by angry Shenhua fans and Chinese media.
Tevez recently returned to the country from a two-week break in his native Argentina to seek treatment for a leg-muscle injury.
He was jeered when he came on as a substitute last weekend in a 2-1 home defeat, and Wu Jingui, who took over after Gus Poyet quit as coach on Monday, is taking a hardline stance.
"I had a talk with him today about tactics, but I won't let him play for now, he isn't physically ready," Wu said in an interview published Wednesday with the Shanghai Morning Post.
"Both him and (Colombian Fredy) Guarin are overweight. I need to be responsible to the team and responsible to the players.
"When you are on the pitch, if you can't play at 100 percent, then it is completely meaningless." It is the latest sorry chapter in Tevez's turbulent nine months in China.

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