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Analysis: Sydney and Shanghai share the spoils in game of two halves

Sydney: Shanghai SIPG had to come from behind three times to take a point in their 3-3 draw with Sydney FC in the Group H clash on Matchday Three of the 2019 AFC Champions League.

Alex Brosque’s 84th-minute goal looked to have given the home side their first victory of this year’s campaign but Elkeson struck even later to earn the visitors a point in what was a thrilling contest.

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Oscar makes decisive contribution despite second-half fade

All eyes are always on playmaker Oscar when Shanghai SIPG are in action and the Brazilian had a decisive influence once again as he helped his side claim what could be a vital point.

But there was a significant contrast between the former Chelsea player’s first-half and second-half performances. Oscar’s first-half touchmap (below) shows much of the action he saw came in and around the opposition penalty area, while almost all of his touches came in the Sydney half. One of these was the cross that set up Lu Wenjun’s goal.

However, Shanghai’s energy seemed to drop in the second half and Sydney were in the ascendancy for the final half-hour of the game. Oscar’s touches became fewer and, as his second-half touchmap (below) shows, they were much more dispersed across the middle of the pitch and not the final third.

Nevertheless, Oscar still managed to play a key role in the outcome. He seized upon a defensive error, advanced forward and played in Elkeson for the equaliser in the 89th minute.

Even if Oscar’s influence in a game appears to be fading, he is always capable of a moment of magic.

A game of two halves

Oscar's performance was something of a snapshot of a game in which Shanghai had the upper hand in the first half, while the hosts were very much on top in the second.

The graphic above highlights how much more of the first-half action took place near the Sydney goal, while the visitors dominated possession. The home side were lucky to be level at the break but they showed significant improvement in the second 45 minutes.

The graphic below, meanwhile, demonstrates the picture over the full 90 minutes and shows that Sydney FC managed to take control to the extent that there was almost equal action in each team’s final third, while the A-League champions also managed to have the majority of possession.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair result but both sides will most likely feel they had the chances to take the three points.

O’Neill drives Sydney recovery

If Oscar offered the artistry for Shanghai, Brandon O’Neill provided the drive for Sydney with a busy performance at the heart of midfield. He had more touches (80) than anyone else in his side and boasted an impressive 83.3 percent passing success rate, while also providing two key passes.

The graphic above also shows how O’Neill kept the ball moving in all directions, but rarely turned back. Sydney struggled at times in the first half but they raised the tempo in the second half and O’Neill was very much at the heart of the action.

The A-League side stayed in with a chance of reaching the last 16, sitting just two points behind second-placed Shanghai ahead of their return meeting in China PR on April 24.

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