- Urawa claims precious away draw and goal
- Hulk opens scoring, claims ninth goal of the AFC campaign
- Yosuke Kashiwagi’s leveller leaves contest open
2007 winners Urawa Red Diamonds earned a key away draw in their 2017 AFC Champions League semi-final first leg at Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday. Yosuke Kashiwagi’s goal on 28 minutes cancelled out Hulk’s emphatic opener from range, ensuring Urawa enter the second leg on home soil with an away goal.
Having each claimed a home victory during a pair of group stage meetings, the two sides entered their third encounter of this campaign confident of adding a win to their tally. Brazilian forward Hulk put the hosts in front inside fifteen minutes, connecting with compatriot Oscar, before unleashing a thunderbolt shot into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the continental campaign – continuing his record of scoring in every start in this year’s competition.
Steered on by the home crowd, Shanghai continued to press forward as they sought to double the lead. Elkeson cut into the area and found space to fire an effort from an acute angle but was denied by the goalkeeper.
Having weathered early pressure, the visitors began to assert control. Their efforts paid dividends as they grabbed the equaliser twelve minutes later when Shinzo Koroki cut back the ball for Yosuke Kashiwagi to slot home on the half-volley.
Shanghai upped the tempo before half-time with Wu Lei pouncing on a clearance to head just wide. Oscar twice misfired while Hulk flashed a free-kick into the keeper’s arms as the two sides finished the first period locked at 1-1.
The visitors began the second half looking more comfortable, maintaining their fluid passing and weaving their way forward. It was the hosts that looked more dangerous with their swift counter-attacks, however. Odil Ahmedov saw his effort fly wide and Wu Lei stung the keeper’s hand with a close-range shot before Oscar rattled the woodwork with a free-kick.
Shanghai piled on the pressure during the closing stages as they desperately sought to restore their lead. Urawa, for their part, held firm and kept their opponents at bay as they go into the second leg on 18 October on terms with an away goal to their name.
Full-time statistics for Shanghai SIPG vs @REDSOFFICIAL! #ACL2017 #SHAvURA pic.twitter.com/qrrtVzcWau
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) September 27, 2017