Os­car ban harm­ing China ti­tle hopes: Vil­las-Boas

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

An­dre Vil­las-Boas fears that the pro­longed ab­sence of banned Brazil­ian star Os­car could tor­pedo Shang­hai SIPG’s Chi­nese Su­per League ti­tle hopes. The Por­tuguese coach saw his side fin­ish the week­end three points be­hind lead­ers Guangzhou Ever­grande fol­low­ing a dry 0-0 home draw with third-placed Tian­jin Quan­jian on Sun­day.

Both sides failed to cre­ate many chances dur­ing an ill-tem­pered game and Vil­las-Boas was left to rue the ab­sence of at­tack­ing mid­fielder Os­car, the Asian-record, 60-mil­lion-euro man who is reach­ing the end of an eightgame ban for trig­ger­ing a brawl in a CSL game in June.

Os­car re­turns this month but former Chelsea and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager Vil­las-Boas be­lieves it is no co­in­ci­dence that his team has hit a rough patch of form dur­ing the player’s lengthy sus­pen­sion.

“It was the de­ci­sion by the CFA (Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion) to sus­pend one of the best play­ers in the world for eight games, so what can we do?” a clearly frus­trated Vil­las-Boas asked af­ter the game.

“Of course we miss Os­car. It’s been a long spell with­out him... it’s just too much. “We brought him for a rea­son. We ended up loan­ing one of the most cre­ative play­ers last sea­son, (the Ar­gen­tine Dario) Conca, to Brazil and creativ­ity is one of the things of my teams and of course we miss play­ers of his cal­i­bre.

“Our bad spell re­sponds to the fact that we had Os­car sus­pended for eight games.” The CFA banned Os­car af­ter ac­cus­ing him of spark­ing an all-out brawl against Guangzhou R&F when he ap­peared to de­lib­er­ately fire the ball at an op­pos­ing player.

In seven league games since, Shang­hai have won only three times. Reign­ing cham­pi­ons Guangzhou Ever­grande have also stum­bled, but they beat Tian­jin Teda 3-0 on Sat­ur­day af­ter a sticky run to stay in the driv­ing seat with just over half the CSL sea­son gone.

Vil­las-Boas and Fabio Can­navaro, his op­po­site num­ber at Tian­jin Quan­jian, were un­happy with some of the of­fi­ci­at­ing in Sun­day’s stale­mate. Shang­hai’s bruis­ing for­ward Hulk and Tian­jin’s Alexan­dre Pato-two Brazil­ian in­ter­na­tion­als-were at the cen­tre of a se­ries of run-ins be­tween the two sides.

Vil­las-Boas, al­ready banned this sea­son for two games for crit­i­cis­ing the Os­car sus­pen­sion, and Italy’s Can­navaro both de­clined to elab­o­rate on their griev­ances, fear­ing CFA pun­ish­ment.

“I pre­fer not to an­swer be­cause it can be con­tro­ver­sial,” the Por­tuguese said, when asked by AFP if he felt that the away side had tar­geted Hulk. — AFP

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