Shang­hai lose but China trio ad­vance to last 16

New Straits Times - - Sport -

HONG KONG: Shang­hai SIPG will take on Jiangsu Sun­ing in an al­lChina clash in the last 16 of the Asian Cham­pi­ons League later this month as all three Chi­nese Su­per League clubs se­cured places in the knock­out rounds of the con­ti­nen­tal club cham­pi­onship.

An­dre Vil­las-Boas’ Shang­hai side fin­ished sec­ond in their group be­hind Ja­pan’s Urawa Red Di­a­monds af­ter both clubs lost their fi­nal group games on Wed­nes­day, to Aus­tralia’s Western Syd­ney Wan­der­ers and FC Seoul from South Korea re­spec­tively.

China in­ter­na­tional Wu Lei scored the third-fastest goal in the his­tory of the com­pe­ti­tion to give Shang­hai the lead over Tony Popovic’s team, but Wan­der­ers led 2-1 by the sixth minute thanks to a rapid-fire re­sponse from Jumpei Kusukami and Steven Lus­tica.

Elk­seon lev­elled the scores from the penalty spot for Shang­hai but an 89th minute goal by Jaushua Sotirio gave Western Syd­ney a sur­prise win against an SIPG side miss­ing star names Oscar and Hulk.

“A 2-2 draw would have made more sense,” said Vil­las-Boas. “Un­for­tu­nately, we con­ceded again at the end and lost the match.

“We used our play­ers in ro­ta­tion in or­der to man­age the Chi­nese Su­per League and the Asian Cham­pi­ons League sched­ule. Now we have to play at our best when we face Jiangsu.”

Urawa, mean­while, will meet South Korea’s Jeju United in the last 16 af­ter their 1-0 loss against FC Seoul, while two-time cham­pi­ons Guangzhou Ever­grande will take on J.League cham­pi­ons Kashima Antlers.

Guangzhou, the six-time Chi­nese Su­per League win­ners, fin­ished sec­ond in their group be­hind Kawasaki Frontale af­ter a 22 draw with Su­won Bluew­ings, with Ri­cardo Goulart scor­ing twice to en­sure the Chi­nese side ad­vanced to the knock­out phase.

Kashima topped Group E ahead of Muangth­ong United thanks to a brace from Yuma Suzuki in their meet­ing with the Thai side, who will face off against Kawasaki in the next round.

In the west Asian half of the draw, last year’s beaten fi­nal­ists Al Ain from the United Arab Emi­rates will take on Iran’s Estegh­lal af­ter Zo­ran Mamic’s team won Group C ahead of Saudi Ara­bia’s Al Ahli thanks to a 3-0 win over Bun­y­o­d­kor from Uzbek­istan.

Al Ahli, coached by for­mer Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager Chris­tian Gross, will meet name­sakes Al Ahli of the United Arab Emi­rates in the last 16 as the 2015 run­ners-up from Dubai sealed first place in Group A with a 4-0 thrash­ing of Loko­mo­tiv Tashkent.

Al Hi­lal, two-time win­ners of the Asian Club Cham­pi­onship, play Estegh­lal Khuzes­tan from Iran in the next phase af­ter the Saudi Ara­bian league cham­pi­ons topped Group D with a 4-3 win over Qatar’s Al Rayyan, while Perse­po­lis will take on another Qatari side, Lekhwiya, who clinched Group B with a 4-1 win over Al Fateh. Reuters

EPA PIC

Shang­hai's Elke­son (left) takes a shot at the Western Syd­ney Wan­derer’s goal in an AFC Cham­pi­ons League Group F match at Camp­bell­town Sta­dium in Syd­ney on Wed­nes­day.

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