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Sport

Chen the hero as former champions SIPG win derby on penalties

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shanghai SIPG had second-string goalkeeper Chen Wei to thank for securing their place in the semi-finals of the Chinese Super League playoffs on Friday as his penalty shootout save ensured victory over cross-city rivals Shanghai Shenhua.

SIPG won 5-4 on penalties after the game at Suzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw, with Chen denying Giovanni Moreno in the first round of spot kicks.

The 22-year-old was making only his second start for the club and played as a result of an eye injury sustained by regular goalkeeper Yan Junling in Sunday’s scoreless first leg.

Chen proved to be an able deputy and his team will meet either Jiangsu Suning or Chongqing Lifan in the last four next week after former Chelsea player Oscar scored the decisive fifth penalty to ensure SIPG advanced.

There had been little to separate the sides until the 10th minute of the second half when SIPG took the lead for the first time.

Australia international Aaron Mooy was upended in the area by Aidi Fulangxisi as he latched on to a backheel from Marko Arnautovic and referee Ma Ning pointed to the spot.

Hulk struck the spot kick firmly into the bottom corner to claim his 50th goal since moving to China in 2016.

SIPG looked set to advance but, in the first minute of stoppage time, Sun Shilin hit an unstoppable right foot shot from outside the area that flew over the outstretched arm of Chen.

Shenhua looked the more likely to score the winner in extra time, with Yang Xu denied by Chen with the last kick of the game before the goalkeeper performed further heroics to take his team into the next round.

Wuhan Zall, meanwhile, will face off against Guangzhou R&F or Qingdao Huanghai later this month in their bid to avoid relegation to China League One after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Henan Jianye.

That result ensured Henan avoid the drop to the second tier with a 2-1 aggregate win after Wang Shangyuan scored with a free kick 25 minutes into the second leg in Dalian on Friday.

Guangzhou take on Qingdao on Saturday after the first leg ended goalless.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge

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