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

Urawa Red Diamonds 1 – 0 Shanghai SIPG (2-1 on aggregate)
Rafael Silva, 11’

So the hope for the double is over for SIPG. An early Rafael Silva header, a man we highlighted in the preview, put an effective stop to that dream.

It was SIPG who had the best start, however, as Wu Lei had a header saved by Urawa keeper Shusaki Nishikawa after only seven minutes of play.

The goal a few minutes later, came as a result of a corner where Odil Ahmedov just got outmuscled by Silva and lost his man for a moment. That moment was enough for Silva to get in front and put his head to the ball and head Urawa into the lead after 11 minutes.

SIPG had a few chances as well, but most were, unfortunately, Hulk long-rangers that just weren’t what they usually are.

Urawa then went close again on another corner, early in the second half. Tomoaki Makino rose highest and got his head to the ball. It sailed in an arch above everyone but unfortunately for Urawa, it hit the crossbar and bounced back out.

Shinzo Koroki came very close to put Urawa 2-0 up but a good save from SIPG keeper Yan Junling on the header meant it was still only a one-goal match.

SIPG’s biggest chance came just 12 minutes from the end as what must have been the fifth or sixth long-range attempt from Hulk actually gave Urawa some trouble. Nishikawa couldn’t keep hold of the ball as it bounced a little awkwardly in front of him. Elkeson pounced on the rebound but the Urawa shot-stopper was fast back up to his feet and managed to save the strikers attempt.

That was it from SIPG really, they tried and tried but just couldn’t break down the Urawa defence and the Japanese side will advance to the final after winning 2-1 on aggregate.

In that final, they will meet 2014 runners-up from the competition, Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia, over two-legs on 18 and 25 November. The Saudis did the job in the second leg on Tuesday after having beaten their opponents, Persepolis from Iran, 4-0 in the first. A 2-2 draw was more than enough to see them through to the final.

So with SIPG now out of the competition they have to put all their focus back on doing the seemingly impossible, catching Guangzhou Evergrande in the league, as well as winning the Cup.

About the Author

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