Shanghai SIPG in trouble after Antlers mauling

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Shanghai SIPG’s AFC Champions League hopes are hanging in the balance following a 3-1 loss to Kashima Antlers in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

In what proved to be a fine display from the Japanese outfit at the Kashima Soccer Stadium, they took the lead in the 43rd minute when Yuma Suzuki converted on the rebound from a yard out, after Gen Shoji’s initial header from a Ryota Nagaki corner forced a fine save from Yan Junling.

Four minutes into the second half, the hosts doubled their lead from another corner as SIPG’s Odil Ahmedov sent a poor headed clearance into Daigo Nishi, who reacted well to poke home from close range.

Kashima went on to add a third goal in the 75th minute when Koki Anzai sent an excellent left-wing cross towards Suzuki and Yu Hai – in a bid to intercept – could only send a header into his own goal.

But, just a minute later, Elkeson pulled one back with a neat finish past Kwoun Sun-tae after being set up by Lu Wenjun to hand his side what could yet prove to be a valuable away goal in next week’s second leg in Shanghai.

KASHIMA ANTLERS: Kwoun Sun-tae, Daigo Nishi, Naomichi Ueda, Gen Shoji, Koki Anzai, Ryota Nagaki, Kento Misao, Yasushi Endo (Tomoya Inukai 90+1’), Shoma Doi (Pedro Junior 81’), Yuma Suzuki, Mu Kanazaki (Mitsuo Ogasawara 87’).

SHANGHAI SIPG: Yan Junling, Wang Shenchao, He Guan, Shi Ke, Yu Hai, Cai Huikang (Zhang Yi 81’), Odil Ahmedov, Oscar, Wu Lei, Lu Wenjun, Elkeson.