Group H: Shanghai SIPG FC (CHN) 2-2 Sydney FC (AUS)
Shanghai: Shanghai SIPG and Sydney FC battled to a 2-2 draw in their Group H clash on Matchday Four of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
The result leaves the group finely balanced, with just two points separating the teams between second and fourth place.
SIPG’s Zhang Wei had a good early effort saved by Andrew Redmayne as the home side started brightly.
But Sydney worked their way into the match and in the 20th minute, Rhyan Grant’s cross found Adam Le Fondre but the Englishman’s volley went wide.
Siem De Jong’s excellent through ball then found Reza Ghoochannejhad but the angle was tight and Yan Junling came out to smother the shot.
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Redmayne came to the visitors’ rescue in the 32nd minute when he saved brilliantly from Hulk’s powerful drive.
And Sydney were even more grateful to their goalkeeper when they took the lead on the counter in the 34th minute. Anthony Caceres’ delicately weighted through ball found Brandon O’Neill in the clear and the midfielder guided the ball past Yan Junling.
After Sydney ended the half in the ascendancy, SIPG brought on Elkeson at half-time and the striker made an immediate impact by heading home Hulk’s free-kick two minutes into the second half.
Caceres reminded the home side of Sydney’s threat when he fired a shot over in the 55th minute.
But SIPG took the lead four minutes later. After good work from Hulk, Zhang Wei crossed to the far post and Wang Shenchao stole in and finished superbly.
The home side could only hold on to their lead for three minutes as De Jong clipped in a cross from the left and Le Fondre’s instinctive angled header found the far corner.
With 20 minutes remaining, Joshua Brillante’s strike forced Yan Junling into a save as both sides sought out a winner.
Redmayne had to be at full stretch to tip Lin Chuangyi’s low shot past the post as the game approached the closing 10 minutes.
But neither side could find the decisive strike to leave it all to play for in Group H going into Matchday Five on May 7. Shanghai SIPG travel to face Kawasaki Frontale with just a one-point lead over the Japanese side, while Sydney FC can stay in contention for the last 16 if they take something from a tough match at Ulsan Hyundai.
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