Kick-off: 12:35 UK Time
Result after the first match:
Shanghai SIPG 2 – 1 Guangzhou Evergrande
Guangzhou Evergrande’s way to the semi-final:
Third Round: 2-1 over Meizhou Meixian Techand (A)
Fourth Round: 1-0 over Hebei China Fortune (H)
Fifth Round: 9-6 on aggregate over Guangzhou R&F
Shanghai SIPG’s way to the semi-final:
Third Round: 2-0 over Shijiazhuang Ever Bright (A)
Fourth Round: 15-14 on penalties over Suzhou Dongwu (A)
Fifth Round: 4-3 on aggregate over Tianjin Quanjian
These two teams should not be in a semi-final together. They really shouldn’t. Both teams have had comebacks in the fifth round that is unheard of and would have made big headlines had they happened in one of the big leagues in Europe.
Shanghai SIPG were 3-0 down after the first leg against Tianjin Quanjian but managed to turn it around at home in the second by winning four to nothing, thereby going through on aggregate by one measly goal.
Guangzhou Evergrande’s comeback is even more unbelievable for two reasons, one: it was a city derby as they faced rivals Guangzhou R&F, and two: the amount of goals they scored in the second leg.
After the first leg at R&F’s place Evergrande were two goals down after losing 4-2 and when Renatinho put R&F up by one after only seven minutes of the second leg, most people thought it was over. But not Evergrande.
They promptly scored four in the first half. As a brace from Muriqui, a penalty from Alan and an extra time goal from Yu Hanchao, meant Evergrande took the lead in the tie. And in the second half, they just kept on scoring. Gao Lin and Zhang Chenglin scored on either side of an Eran Zahavi penalty before Alan completed the amazing game by getting another goal eight minutes from full time. The final score was an incredible 7-2, and a 9-6 win on aggregate for Evergrande.
As for the last leg between these two teams, Shanghai SIPG sneaked away with the win as He Guan scored well into extra time after Odil Akhmedov had brought SIPG level earlier in the second half.
Historically these matches have been quite close and have often ended in draws in years gone by. This year the teams have faced off a massive five times, with this being the sixth, and only one of the fixtures have ended in a draw. This season have seen both teams take two wins against the other but SIPG might have the psychological advantage as they edged out Evergrande in the Champions League Quarter-Final, winning 5-4 on penalties after two games that had as much excitement and turnaround as the two cup fixtures mentioned above. SIPG lead 4-0 after the first leg but Evergrande won the second 4-0, meaning extra time. Both teams scored once and SIPG had two men sent off, before they eventually won on penalties.
So SIPG have a lead but as we’ve seen, they are not very good at defending those and Evergrande are experts at comebacks so it all points towards yet another game that will be fully packed with action and come 12:35 today the players will be raring to go.
SIPG wants to secure a Shanghai Derby in the final and spoil a potential league and cup double for Guangzhou, while Guangzhou would want just that.