SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Brazilian striker Hulk scored two second-half penalties to salvage a 2-2 draw for Shanghai SIPG in the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarter-final against twice champions Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan on Tuesday.
The former Porto and Zenit St Petersburg forward netted from the spot in the 49th and 70th minutes at Shanghai Stadium as his side fought back from 2-0 down at halftime after Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki had netted for the Japanese.
The pair meet again in the second leg in Japan on Sept. 17, with the winners set to play either defending champions Kashima Antlers or twice winners Guangzhou Evergrande in the semis.
“At halftime we were maybe out of the competition, but at the end of the game with 2-2 everything is possible,” said SIPG head coach Vitor Pereira.
“We’re in the competition and we know we have to compete.”
Urawa took a surprise early lead when Makino capitalised on a mistake by SIPG goalkeeper Yan Junling to score from close range after three minutes.
By the half-hour mark, the Japanese side extended their advantage when Koroki netted his sixth of the competition when he latched on to Kazuki Nagasawa’s perfectly-flighted through-ball to fire home.
Yet SIPG launched a second-half comeback, with former Chelsea playmaker Oscar instrumental in his side’s revival, winning a penalty in the fourth minute of the second half that Hulk dispatched to cut the deficit.
Hulk then hit the post after more impressive work by his Brazilian compatriot, before completing the fightback in the 70th minute when he smashed a second spot kick into the roof of the goal after Urawa defender Mauricio Antonio was adjudged to have handled the ball.
In the west of the continent, Saudi Arabian champions Al Nassr will take a one-goal lead into the second leg of their quarter-final encounter with Al Sadd of Qatar after notching up a 2-1 win over the Xavi Hernandez-coached side on Monday.
Xavi’s team took the lead through Ali Assadalla 21 minutes into the game, only for Abdurahman Al Dossari to level the scores a minute before the interval.
Brazilian Giuliano then hit the winner 18 minutes from fulltime to give Rui Vitoria’s side a slim advantage ahead of the second leg in Doha on Sept. 16.
(Editing by Toby Davis)