Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Oscar hits hat-trick to fire Shanghai SIPG into AFC last 16

Former Chelsea star Oscar hit a hat-trick, including a wonderful curling effort from outside the box, to fire Shanghai SIPG into the AFC Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.

The Chinese champions' 5-0 home demolition of a depleted but already qualified Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea dumped Kawasaki Frontale out of Asia's premier club competition.

Kawasaki thrashed a weakened Sydney FC 4-0 away but SIPG squeezed through by a point in group H over last year's J-League winners.

SIPG made light of the absence of injured captain Hulk and could have taken the lead after six minutes when his fellow Brazilian forward Elkeson headed straight at young stand-in goalkeeper Moon Jung-In.

A minute later the Chinese Super League side did score, the 60-million-euro Oscar playing a clever one-two with Elkeson before firing first time past Moon.

K-League leaders Ulsan had already qualified, so they made wholsesale changes from the team that won 3-1 at Suwon Bluewings on Saturday.

It showed as Vitor Pereira's SIPG bossed the game at a half-empty Shanghai Stadium.

But with Kawasaki leading 2-0 after 20 minutes at already eliminated Sydney, Pereira's side – who have never lifted the Champions League – knew that they had to win.

Oscar's neat first settled the nerves and the attacking midfielder, an Asian-record signing when he joined SIPG from Chelsea in January 2017, made it 2-0 on 42 minutes.

The Brazilian former international, 27, advanced to the edge of the "D" and when nobody challenged him, he picked his spot in Moon's top-left corner.

It was more of the same in the second half and became 3-0 to the hosts when striker Li Shenglong raced unchallenged down the left and smashed the ball past Moon.

Oscar got his deserved third on 76 minutes, his low shot creeping through the legs of the rattled Moon.

Substitute Hu Jinghang made it a five-star night for SIPG.


Substitute Kazuki Nagasawa scored one goal and made another as Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds won 3-0 to knock Chinese Super League leaders Beijing Guoan out of the AFC Champions League.

It was the Japanese who joined group G winners Jeonbuk Motors in the knockout stage draw. The South Korean side drew 0-0 with Thailand's Buriram United Tuesday in a dead rubber.

Urawa had an early scare when captain Yosuke Kashiwagi was injured in a tackle in the first minute and forced to give way 10 minutes later, stretchered off to be replaced by Nagasawa.

But they needn't have worried as it was the substitute who broke the deadlock in the 34th minute as he shrugged off weak Beijing challenges at the edge of the box to fire past goalkeeper Zou Dehai.

Head-to-head records meant Beijing needed at least a score draw to go through to the last 16 as the second-placed side ahead of Urawa.

But the visitors' task became harder when Nagasawa turned provider seven minutes later, sliding in Yuki Muto to score with a deflected shot after a bullocking run down the left flank.

Muto missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put the result beyond doubt within a minute of the restart when he headed weakly straight at Zou from six yards out.

Beijing's former Villareal strike Cedric Bakambu had the best of the away team's chances, seeing his first-half header from Renato Augusto's cross saved and then shooting rashly when through in the 51st minute.

Bakambu 20 minutes later appealed for a penalty after tumbling in the box but Iraqi referee Ali Sabah Al-Qaysi was well placed to wave away his pleas.

Beijing became more desperate as they pushed forward searching for a goal and were caught on the counter-attack in the 81st minute as Muto played in Shinzo Koroki to seal the three points and qualification


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