Preview - Quarter-final: Shanghai SIPG FC (CHN) vs Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN)
Shanghai: In a repeat of the 2017 semi-final, Chinese champions Shanghai SIPG will welcome two-time AFC Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds to Shanghai Stadium for the first leg of their 2019 quarter-final on Tuesday.
The sides met four times in the 2017 edition, exchanging wins in the Group Stage before their meeting in the last four saw Urawa edge the semi-final 2-1 on aggregate as they went on to lift their second AFC Champions League title.
Last year, Shanghai SIPG were eliminated by a Japanese team for a second consecutive tournament when they were defeated by eventual champions Kashima Antlers, while Urawa failed to defend their title after they were unable to qualify for the 2018 competition.
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It has been a tough campaign so far for last year's Chinese Super League winners, with the journey to the last eight punctuated with several tight games that could have gone either way.
Indeed, their opener set the tone for the 2019 edition with a last minute penalty from Brazilian forward Hulk needed to secure all three points against Japan's Kawasaki Frontale.
A 1-0 defeat away at Ulsan Hyundai followed before three consecutive draws left Shanghai SIPG needing a win over Ulsan in the final Matchday to secure their place in the Knockout Stage.
And they did it in impressive fashion, as star midfielder Oscar netted a hat-trick in a comprehensive 5-0 win. Their reward was a Round of 16 meeting with another Korea Republic side, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and a back-and-forth tie saw Shanghai SIPG come out the victors on penalties.
When it comes to key names, it's hard to look beyond the Brazilian duo of Oscar and Hulk who have once again excelled in the AFC Champions League.
The former has topped virtually all the major attacking statistics by some margin, while the latter has scored some stunning goals and been a true force of nature.
Urawa Red Diamonds
After defeating Al Hilal to win the 2017 edition, Urawa were absent last year but returned in style this time round, with a dominant 3-0 win over Buriram United in their Group G opener.
A hard-fought draw away at Beijing FC was a decent result and, while back-to-back defeats to Jeonbuk temporarily slowed their momentum, a 2-1 victory away at Buriram set up a winners-take-all game at Saitama Stadium against the Chinese capital city club.
And it was Urawa who came out on top after goals from Kazuki Nagasawa, Yuki Muto and Shinzo Koroki sealed a 3-0 win, as the Reds progressed as runners-up to Jeonbuk.
A 2-1 defeat at home to Ulsan meant Urawa travelled as underdogs for their last 16 second leg tie, but a Koroki brace and Ewerton's late strike saw the J.League side produce a stunning turnaround to win 3-0 at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium.
Koroki's match-winning double against Ulsan further cemented his status as a fan favourite amongst the Urawa faithful, and the forward continues to be the main source of goals for his club, particularly since the departure of 2017 hero Rafael Silva.
The 2017 MVP Yosuke Kashiwagi remains at the club albeit dogged by injury, while the likes of demonstrative centre-back Tomoaki Makino and custodian Shusaku Nishikawa ensure Urawa retain a solid foundation at the back
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Shanghai SIPG vs Urawa Red Diamonds
Venue: Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai
Kick-off: August 27, 19:30 UTC+8
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