The second leg of the AFC Champions League semi-final between Shanghai and Urawa on Wednesday is tightly poised.
Urawa have the slight edge courtesy of the away goal they netted in the 1-1 draw in the opening leg in September in Shanghai. But despite Yosuke Kashiwagi’s first half goal, it was Shanghai that had the more dominant display and were unlucky not to convert their chances.
Shanghai notched up no less than 21 shots at goal to Urawa’s three, with a number of efforts coming off the woodwork.
While a goalless draw would be enough for Urawa to advance to the final, Japanese international Wataru Endo insists they will start positive in search of goals.
“No, we don’t think it is an advantage at all – we don’t want to think this way – we will go for the win no matter what,” said Endo, who is hoping to continue Urawa’s impressive five win streak at home in Saitama.
“It’s true that a goalless scoreline would be good enough for us this time round, but I strongly believe it is not a good thing to think like this.
“We’ll be on the offensive throughout – especially at the very beginning; we will attack right from the kick-off.”
Meanwhile, SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas revealed his charges would have to contain the dangerous Kashiwagi and the Reds other quality players.
“We will have to control Kashiwagi, and the rest of their team,” said Villas-Boas.
“They have quality throughout their side. So much technical ability. From Kashiwagi to [Shinzo] Koroki to [Tadanari] Lee to [Rafael] Da Silva – never-ending quality.
“In my opinion, both teams are where they deserve to be in the AFC Champions League: facing each other in this semi-final.”
Shanghai are not without gamebreakers themselves as Brazilian superstar Hulk has been in superb form. The playmaker is the competition’s top scorer and has found the back of the net in his last five outings for SIPG.
Wednesday’s winner will face a red hot Al Hilal in November’s two leg final, who are unbeaten in the 2017 competition so far.