AFC Champions League 2019: Sydney FC denied by Shanghai SIPG in thriller

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Sydney FC were denied their first win of AFC Champions League 2019 on Wednesday as Shanghai SIPG came from behind thrice to salvage a 3-3 draw in a Group H thriller at Jubilee Stadium.

Looking to make an impact after picking up just one point from their opening two matches, it took Sydney just three minutes to break the deadlock.

Pouncing on a week clearance header from Zhang Wei, Siem de Jong shifted the ball onto his left foot before squeezing away a fairly tame shot that found the back of the net courtesy of a deflection off Wei Zhen.

The Chinese Super League champions equalised in the 27th minute when Oscar cut in from the left and curled a sublime cross right onto the head of Lu Wenjun, who made no mistake in deftly guiding the ball into the far corner.

But, right on the half-hour mark, Sydney were awarded a penalty when He Guan was penalised for handball inside the area, and Adam le Fondre made no mistake in dispatching his spot-kick straight down the middle.

Again, the hosts were unable to hold on to their lead as SIPG responded again eight minutes before halftime; Hulk teasing his opponent down the right before clipping a deft cross to the near post for Yu Hai to glance home.

The second half proved to be a real battle of attrition but, with six minutes remaining, Sydney looked to have snatched the victory when substitute Alex Brosque made an immediate impact by scoring on the follow-up, after Reza Ghoochannejhad’s initial header from a Le Fondre cross had been parried away by Yan Junling.

However, a minute from time, a costly mistake from the hosts saw them give away possession inside their own half to Oscar, who punished them by charging towards goal before laying a pass off for Elkeson to smash into the roof of the net.

In Wednesday’s other Group H encounter, Kim Soo-an came off the bench and scored a 91st-minute winner to hand Ulsan Hyundai a dramatic 1-0 win over Kawasaki Frontale.

SYDNEY FC: Andrew Redmayne, Rhyan Grant, Alex Wilkinson, Aaron Calver, Michael Zullo (Paulo Retre 66’), Daniel De Silva (Alex Brosque 83’), Joshua Brillante, Brandon O’Neill, Siem de Jong (Milos Ninkovic 66’), Adam le Fondre, Reza Ghoochannejhad.

SHANGHAI SIPG: Yan Junling, Wei Zhen, He Guan (Fu Huan 77’), Yu Hai, Zhang Wei, Odil Ahmedov (Zhang Yi 78’), Lin Chuangyi (Cai Huikang 73’), Lu Wenjun, Hulk, Oscar, Elkeson.