Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg Preview: Urawa Red Diamonds v Shanghai SIPG

Kick-off: 11:30 UK Time

Result after the first match:

Shanghai SIPG 1-1 Urawa Red Diamonds

Shanghai’s SIPG’s way to the semi-final:

Group Stage: Number two in Group F with 12 points and +6 goal difference

Round of 16: 5-3 on aggregate over Jiangsu Suning

Quarter-final: 5-4 on penalties over Guangzhou Evergrande

Urawa Red Diamond’s way to the semi-final:

Group Stage: Number one in Group F with 12 points and +11 goal difference

Round of 16: 3-2 on aggregate over Jeju United

Quarter-final: 5-4 on aggregate over Kawasaki Frontale,

After a somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw in the first leg, it’s now all to play for in the second. Hulk’s early 15th-minute lead goal was nullified by Yosuke Kashiwagi just before the half-hour mark in the first leg and neither team could break the deadlock.

The teams met in the group stages earlier this year where both sides won their respective home games, 3-2 to SIPG and 1-0 to Urawa, so the two sides have been very evenly matched.

Urawa are currently not doing too well in the J.League and they are sitting in mid-table in 7th place. One win, three draws and a loss is their tally from the last five games, most against fellow mid-table sides, but the loss came against 13th placed (out of 18) Sapporo.

As we well know from SIPG’s previous results in knockout matches they are no strangers to dramatic winners, having almost fumbled a 4-0 lead from the first game against Guangzhou Evergrande the most recent reminder in the ACL.

Andre Villas-Boas will be back on the sidelines as the eight-match ban he has been handed by the Chinese FA only counts towards Chinese competitions. Hopefully, he can be a reassuring and positive reinforcement for the SIPG boys.

SIPG, who only managed a 3-3 draw with bottom of the league Liaoning on the weekend, seems to have let the league title push slip away from them lately but they will still look to do the double this season by advancing to this final as well as winning the Chinese FA Cup where they face Shanghai Shenhua in the final.

Hulk will once again be the main threat for SIPG as he has shown tremendous form in this competition by scoring nine goals so far, tied with Al-Hilal’s Omar Kharbin. Urawa’s dangermen will be Hulk’s compatriot Rafael Silva and 31-year old Shinzo Koroki. Silva has netted 10 in 22 appearances, while Koroki has 19 in 28 so far this season across all competitions.

The winner of this match will play Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal in the two-legged final on 18 and 25 November.

About the Author

Ola Bjerkevoll
Norwegian studying sports journalism in England. Lover of all football, especially Chinese, German and Oceanian. Twitter: @olabje