Hulk a doubt as Shanghai head to Japan

Shanghai SIPG head to Japan for their AFC Champions League clash on Tuesday against Urawa Reds with a fitness worry over Brazilian striker Hulk.

Hulk went off with an injury after opening the scoring during Shanghai’s Chinese Super League victory over Shandong Luneng on Friday and will undergo a late fitness test to assess whether he can start.

Hulk has been in top form for Shanghai in the AFC CL, netting three goals and two assists as the Chinese side have swept all before them.

Andre Villas-Boas’ men won the earlier meeting between the two sides in China last month 3-2 thanks to a goal from Hulk. Elkeson and Shi Ke got the other goals.

Still, they will not take anything for granted as Urawa almost grabbed a point in that clash after Shanghai had raced into a three-goal lead.

“The game tomorrow will be the most difficult one in our Asian Champions League group stage,” Villas-Boas said. “We have to play at our best if we want to qualify. Our opponents are a very strong side, and we are playing away.
“There is no big problem with Hulk’s left knee, luckily. We will observe him in training, and then decide if he is going to play or not,” he added.

“[Urawa] have various attacking combinations and all of them are very powerful. Their attacking style is also very entertaining, thanks to their head coach’s excellent job. He has insisted on attacking football and he made it very successful.”

A win for Shanghai will see them qualify from Group F for the knockout stages of the competition.

Urawa, meanwhile, will look to maintain their record of never having lost a home game to Chinese opposition in the AFC Champions League.

The Red Diamonds have been in good form recently in the J.League, winning four of their last five games, including last week’s 7-0 thrashing of Vegalta Sendai that included a hat-trick for striker Shinzo Koroki.

Koroki, however, will be missing through suspension after his stoppage-time sending off during the game in Shanghai.