Elkeson strikes as Shanghai SIPG advance after ACL win over Jiangsu
Shanghai SIPG joined fellow Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday evening as Elkeson inspired Andre Villas-Boas' side to a 3-2 win over compatriots Jiangsu Suning to advance to the last eight.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg in Shanghai last week, SIPG had Elkeson to thank for confirming the club's place in the next round. The Brazilian scored one, and created the other, as Shanghai opened daylight between the clubs before the half-time break.
While Jiangsu trailed after the first leg, the away goal scored by Roger Martinez in the first game gave Choi Yong-soo's side hope and when Hong Jeong-ho headed goalwards during a period of sustained pressure from the home side it looked like Jiangsu could turn the tie around.
But despite Jiangsu having the better of much of the opening 30 minutes, it was SIPG who took the lead when Elkeson's pace saw him outstrip the Jiangsu defence before sliding the ball home from an angle in the 34th minute.
Nine minutes later the Brazilian, who won the ACL in 2013 and 2015 with Guangzhou Evergrande, played a key role in his side's second when his ball across the face of the Jiangsu six-yard box was directed into his own goal by Yang Xiaotian.
That gave Shanghai a 4-1 aggregate lead and, despite their hopes of a quarter-final place being in ruins, Jiangsu continued to push for a way back into the game.
Hong eventually claimed the goal Jiangsu's pressure deserved when he headed in Xie Pengfei's cross 15 minutes from time before Wu Xi added a second in injury time, only for SIPG's Hulk to put the result beyond doubt just seconds later with a strike from outside the area.
Also qualifying for the quarterfinals and completing the eastern half of the draw for the competition are 2007 champions Urawa Red Diamonds, who overturned a 2-0 first leg loss against Jeju United to win 3-2 on aggregate.
Mihailo Petrovic's side were taken into extra-time, despite Shinzo Koroki and Tadanari Lee scoring the goals that levelled the game on aggregate in the 18th and 33rd minutes respectively.
Jeju continued to present a threat, knowing one away goal would leave Urawa having to score a further two to advance, but the South Korean side's hopes were hit when Cho Young-hyun was sent off for a second bookable offence, following a scything tackle on Koroki nine minutes from time.
Urawa laid siege to the Korean goal and, six minutes from the end of extra-time, Ryota Moriwaki claimed the goal that took the Japanese side through to the last eight with a close range strike, and they will join compatriots Kawasaki Frontale in the draw on June 6.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch