Urawa edge Shanghai to reach AFC CL final

Urawa giành quyền vào chung kết AFC Champions League

Urawa Red Diamonds booked their place in the final of the 2017 AFC Champions League following a 1-0 win (2-1 agg) in the second leg of their semi-final against Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday.

The Reds now face a rampant Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia in the first leg of the final, which kicks off on November 18 in Riyadh.

Summary

Arriving at the Saitama Stadium in Japan after a 1-1 draw in Shanghai in September, the Chinese outfit were the favourites given their strong showing in the first leg.

But Urawa managed to strike early through Brazilian star Rafael Silva and then forestall the swift Shanghai attack, with goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa pulling off two crucial saves.

Full report

Urawa sent their fans into delirium early on when Silva found the back of the net in the 11th minute. An accurate corner from Yosuke Kashiwagi left the Brazilian with a free header, which went off the glove of Yan Junling into the back of the net.

Continued pressure from the home side attack lead to another chance just minutes later, with Yuki Muto standing unmarked in the danger zone, but he would send his header across the face of goal.

Shanghai’s Wu Lei created a moment of drama when he went down in the Urawa penalty area after he ran into the back of a defender, but referee Chris Beath did not award a penalty.

In the 24th minute, Hulk nearly silenced the home crowd with a powerful free kick attempt from 40-yards, but Reds stopper Nishikawa was equal to the task.

Later in the half Uzbekistan native Odil Ahmedov found the ball at his feet after an intricate move but again Shanghai would be denied by Nishikawa as the hosts entered the break a goal ahead.

While the visitors continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession in the second half, Urawa nearly doubled their lead in the 55th minute when a flying Makino Tomoaki leapt above his defender for a glancing header that crashed against the crossbar.

The to-and-fro nature of the match continued as Shanghai pressed, eventually putting Elkeson is space but his shot was yet again thwarted buy Nishikawa.

The Reds fans found their full voice as the clock began to wind down and there was a late fracas as Mauricio was shown a yellow card, his second in as many games, meaning he will miss the final.

Tempers flared on both sides in a group scuffle but order was restored and the game resumed, Shanghai seemingly resigned to their fate.

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