For what seemed like the hundredth time this season, but was in reality only the fifth, Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande would take each other on. Earlier meetings had ended with one win for both teams, neither with more than one goal, and a 2-2 draw, so there was no real clear favourite.
Shanghai started the game on the front foot and were awarded a penalty after 38 minutes as Wu Lei wiggled his way past Zhang Linpeng and was brought down by the full-back. Wu Lei might have gone to ground a bit easy when Zhang put an arm on him but the referee pointed to the penalty spot nonetheless. Up stepped Brazilian superstar Hulk who sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and calmly slotted Shanghai into the lead.
From there on in there was only one team on the pitch in terms of goals. Just before the half time whistle Hulk was at it again. This time he sent a cross flying across the box and landing on the head of captain Wang Shenchao who was completely unmarked just mere feet away from the goal line. A gigantic slip up in the Evergrande defence as the captain could head the ball home via the ground and between the legs of Zeng Cheng in the Evergrande goal.
After half time it was all about China International Wu Lei as he scored twice in only two minutes just past the hour mark.
The first goal was a wonderful solo effort as he was given the ball some forty meters out and advanced to the edge of the box where he fired a shot straight across goal that went past the keepers’ outstretched glove and into the bottom corner in the opposite end of the goal.
He then finalized the score in the 64th minute when he was played through by Hulk on an SIPG counter attack. The Brazilian dinked a nice little pass across to Wu as they were going past the last Evergrande defender and Wu effortlessly put the ball past the keeper to make it 4-0 to Shanghai SIPG.
Man of the Match: Wu Lei
The Chinese International was everywhere in this game. He won the penalty for SIPG and scored two great goals in an all around astonishing performance.
The other Quarter Finals:
In the other Quarter Finals in the Champions League, the Western Region saw both their first leg games finish yesterday. Al Ain of UAE and Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia drew 0-0 while Persepolis from Iran and the other Saudi team left, Al-Ahli, drew 2-2. The other Quarter Final in the Eastern Region will be played in half an hour’s time when the Japanese duo Kawasaki Frontale and Urawa Red Diamonds go at it.