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Shanghai: Shanghai SIPG will be without three players through suspension when they host the first leg of the AFC Champions League semi-final against Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday.

Captain Wang Shenchao, goalkeeper Yan Junling and midfielder Wang Jiajie miss out on the visit of the Japanese side with the return clash coming next month to decide East Asia’s representative in November’s final.


Shanghai SIPG

Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG will look to overcome their three defensive absentees in their maiden appearance in the AFC Champions League semi-finals.

Andre Villa-Boas’ side is boosted by the knowledge that they have never lost a home game in the continental competition, winning nine of their 10 games at Shanghai Stadium so far and scoring 18 from their last five home games (an average of 3.6 goals per game).

One of those nine victories was at home to Urawa, where they enjoyed a rollercoaster 3-2 win over the Saitama team.

 

When it comes to key players, it is impossible to ignore Brazilian striker Hulk.

The 31-year-old not only remains the only player to have scored in every game he has participated in this season in the AFC Champions League, but he has also scored or assisted 15 goals in the 2017 competition (eight goals, seven assists) – more than any other player.


Urawa Red Diamonds

Former winners Urawa Red Diamonds continue to shake-off poor domestic form by excelling in Asia, and this will be their third appearance in the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League.

Urawa are the top scoring team in the 2017 edition with 26 goals – one more than Wednesday’s opponents Shanghai SIPG. The J.League club have also achieved the highest shot conversion rate of any team this season in the AFC Champions League (22.8%).

The 2007 champions have, though, lost their last four away games in the AFC Champions League, conceding a total of nine goals in those games (an average of 2.25 goals per game).

 

Playmaker Yosuke Kashiwagi, captain Yuki Abe and ever-present defender Tomoaki Makino have all been important parts of the Urawa set-up but, with Rafael Silva and Tadanari Lee fitness doubts, striker Shinzo Koroki is likely to be the man to lead the line on Wednesday.


Ones To Watch:


Shanghai SIPG v Urawa Red Diamonds
Venue: Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai 
Kick-off: September 27, 20:00 UTC+8

Photos: Lagardère Sports

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