Shanghai through after dramatic late winner

Shanghai SIPG advanced to the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League after claiming a dramatic 1-0 victory over FC Tokyo at the Shanghai Stadium on Tuesday.

Tokyo won the first leg 2-1 and looked all set to take their place in the last eight of Asia’s Premier football competition, before Wu Lei scored the only goal of the match in the first minute of stoppage time.

As result, the tie finished 2-2 with Shanghai going through based on the away goal they scored in in Tokyo last week.

For much of Tuesday’s match, Shanghai were the dominant side, with FC Tokyo goalkeeper Yota Akimoto and his backline proving difficult to break through.

The Chinese Super League side started the match on the front foot and had their first clear chance on goal when Dario Conca’s in-swinging free-kick in the 19th minute found Kim Jun-young unmarked in the box, but Akimoto was equal to the task and kept his header out.

On the hour mark, the Tokyo stopper produced a near-identical save when he pushed Lei’s header out after he made good contact from Sun Xiang’s cross.

The hosts continued to make all the running as half-time approached, as Elkeson was denied by a diving shot from Akimoto. From the loose ball that followed, Tokyo got their only real chance of the first half when Kota Mizunuma – who scored twice in the first leg – nearly caught the hosts out on the break but his effort on goal was tame and easily saved by Yan Junling.

The second half started in the same vein as the first ended, with Tokyo hanging on while Shanghai made most of the running.

However, the visitors nearly got a vital away goal 10 minutes after the restart when Naotake Hanyu found Ryoichi Maeda in a bit of space, but the on-rushing Yan managed to save the low shot with his legs.

Shortly after the hosts reasserted their dominance and Lei had another chance to break the deadlock after Wang Shenchao’s deep cross, but once again Akimoto stood firm.

As the match reached the final moments and with Shanghai still needing a goal, it was Lei who proved to be their saviour.

With only moments left before the final whistle, Elkeson’s shot from range was blocked by Akimoto – who had dived full stretch – but this time his save dropped at the feet of Lei, who fired home from short range, much to the elation of the home fans.

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