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REFILE-Soccer-Hulk gives SIPG upper hand in Asian Champions League
May 24, 2017 / 4:07 PM / 4 months ago

REFILE-Soccer-Hulk gives SIPG upper hand in Asian Champions League

(Refiles to add “Jiangsu Suning” in lede paragraph)

By Michael Church

HONG KONG, May 24 (Reuters) - Former FC Porto striker Hulk scored one goal and set up the second to help Shanghai SIPG edge fellow Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning 2-1 in a first-leg, round of 16 match in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.

SIPG, coached by Andre Villas-Boas and boasting former Chelsea striker Oscar, went a goal behind when Jiangsu’s Roger Martinez scored in the ninth minute, only for Hulk to win a penalty just after the half-hour mark that he converted himself.

The powerfully built striker than turned provider on the stroke of halftime when he clipped his cross onto the head of Odil Ahmedov and the Uzbekistan international steered the ball home from close range.

“I‘m very happy we were able to win and in the second leg we will make every effort to fight until the end for the best result,” said Villas-Boas.

“Of course, everything is possible and both teams worked very hard today to win. We had the chance to score a third goal, but in the end the result is 2-1 and this score means the game is still open and we need to be ready for the next game.”

Former champions Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan will face a difficult task to advance to the last eight after Mihailo Petrovic’s side lost the first leg of their encounter with Jeju United 2-0 in South Korea.

Brazilian Marcelo Toscano gave Jeju an early lead before Urawa, who missed a string of opportunities in the second half, were punished further when Jin Sung-wook scored on the break deep into injury time at the end of the game.

Iranian duo Persepolis and Esteghlal Khouzestan had contrasting fortunes in their round of 16 meetings.

Persepolis was held to a 0-0 draw by Qatar Stars League side Lekhwiya at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

Esteghlal Khouzestan, meanwhile, took the lead against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal through Hasan Beit Saeid before goals from Abdullah Zori and Carlos Eduardo gave the two-time Asian champions a come-from-behind victory. (Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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