Shanghai SIPG held to 1-1 draw by Urawa Red Diamonds

Shanghai SIPG held to 1-1 draw by Urawa Red Diamonds
Shanghai SIPG's Hulk, right, controls the ball during AFC Champions League semifinal football match between Shanghai SIPG FC and Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan) in Shanghai on Wednesday. AFP)
Updated 27 September 2017

Shanghai SIPG held to 1-1 draw by Urawa Red Diamonds

Shanghai SIPG held to 1-1 draw by Urawa Red Diamonds

SHANGHAI: Brazilian striker Hulk hit his ninth goal in the Asian Champions League this season but Shanghai SIPG failed to take their chances in a 1-1 semifinal stalemate with Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side will travel to Japan for the second leg on Oct. 18 very much in the tie, but they could easily have been out of sight.
As has been the case so many times this season, the burly Hulk was Shanghai’s major threat, while former Chelsea star Oscar struck a post.
Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Villas-Boas said the tie was “completely open” despite conceding a crucial away goal against the run of play.
“I’m so sorry to disappoint the media,” an irritated Villas-Boas said afterwards, his voice dripping with irony, after a Chinese reporter said free-scoring Shanghai had been expected to score more than the one goal.
“We had 21 shots and the game could have been completely different.
“We are a little bit disappointed, of course, but the second leg is completely open and we will have everyone back for selection for the second leg, which is very good.
“They have the advantage of the away goal but we are a team that has scored so many goals that we hope to be able to score in Japan and cancel out the away goal.”
The hosts wasted the first chance of the game when Hulk and fellow Brazilian forward Elkeson got in each other’s way in slapstick fashion in the 10th minute.
Five minutes later it was 1-0 and again Hulk — leading scorer in the Champions League — was on the scoresheet, blasting the ball left-footed into the bottom corner from outside the box.
Shanghai, who are pushing for a domestic and continental treble, then went close through Elkeson as they dominated.
But the Chinese often look suspect in defense and missing two from their regular backline and their number one goalkeeper, all suspended, they allowed Urawa to equalize with their first opportunity on 28 minutes.
Yosuke Kashiwagi did the damage, nipping in first time on the half-volley to stun the majority of the more than 30,000 at Shanghai Stadium.
If the hosts were shaky at the back, so too were the visitors, who were playing in their away strip of marker-pen fluorescent yellow.
Oscar, Shanghai’s Asian-record 60-million-euro Brazilian, had two decent chances just before the break as SIPG cranked up the pressure.
The second period began as the first ended, Shanghai enjoying the possession and chances but Urawa threatening sporadically on the break.
Oscar’s nearly night was summed up on 68 minutes when his free-kick bounced off a post.
In the other semifinal, on Tuesday, Saudi giants Al Hilal took a giant step toward the final with a 4-0 thrashing of Iran’s Persepolis.


Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup

Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup
Updated 26 January 2021

Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup

Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup
  • Ibrahimovic returned for Milan this month after seven weeks out injured, scoring a brace against Cagliari

MILAN: Milan’s giants will do battle in the Italian Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday after a disappointing weekend of Serie A action for Italy’s top two teams.

League leaders AC Milan were swept away 3-0 by Atalanta at the San Siro on Saturday, at the same time as second-placed Inter Milan could only manage a goalless draw at Udinese which leaves them two points behind their city rivals.

The teams’ star strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, who have each bagged 12 goals this league campaign, both drew a blank at the weekend but will be hoping for more from the second meeting this season between the two teams.

Milan’s veteran forward Ibrahimovic scored a brace the last time they met in a 2-1 league win in October, with Lukaku also netting for Inter.

Ibrahimovic returned for Milan this month after seven weeks out injured, scoring a brace against Cagliari, and is looking for his first Cup goal of the season.

Lukaku headed in an extra-time winner against Fiorentina in the last 16, but the Belgium forward has failed to score in Inter’s last four league games.

Their trophy hopes now lie on domestic success after their early European exit.

“Winning the Scudetto and qualifying for the Champions League would be significant for Inter, but the Italian Cup is a trophy that we respect,” said coach Antonio Conte.

“We won’t be taking it lightly and will try to win, as we always do.”

Inter’s last major trophy was the 2011 Italian Cup, while Milan — who last won the league that same year — have not tasted success in the competition since 2003.

Making it through to the last four by beating such strong opposition on Tuesday would be huge after their limp defeat by Atalanta.

“The Italian Cup derby could bring us to the semifinals but above all it’s an opportunity to immediately turn the page and avoid a difficult emotional crisis,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli.

Holders Napoli are also looking for a lift Thursday as they take on Serie A newcomers Spezia, who dumped Roma out of the tournament last week.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side lost the Italian Super Cup to Juventus last week and fell 3-1 at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday.

Juventus, winners of four of the last six Italian Cups, take on the only Serie B side remaining, SPAL.

Atalanta — whose only major trophy was the Italian Cup in 1963 — host Lazio, winners in 2019, with the two sides set for a return trip again next weekend in the league.

Winners go through to a two-legged semifinal on February 3 and 10, with the final on May 19.