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Pereira hails Shanghai SIPG's AFC Champions League winning start against Sydney FC

Doha: Head coach Vitor Pereira hailed the importance of collecting the first three points in the 2020 AFC Champions League as his Shanghai SIPG side came from behind to beat Sydney FC 2-1 in Group H on Thursday.

Trent Buhagiar put the Australian side ahead early on before Li Shenglong scored with two headers 16 minutes apart in the second half to earn Shanghai SIPG their first three points of the campaign.

With his side winning their group opener, Pereira acknowledged that the Australian side had gotten the better of them early on, but physical readiness ultimately drew the winning hand, with Shanghai SIPG rising to second place having played a game less than Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Yokohama F. Marinos.

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“We started the game with some problems in controlling space,” said Pereira.

“It was our mistake that we allowed them space early on, but after that we acted. We tried to close the inside spaces and gave them space on the outside instead and we also delayed when we started to pressure them, so that denied them the opportunity to play the ball behind our defence."

Group H - MD1: Sydney FC 1-2 Shanghai SIPG FC

“In the second half we believed if we kept the pressure, we could score a goal and continued that after the first goal.

"The first half an hour was the game of Sydney, but then it was ours and we did well. Three points in the first game is important. It is not easy to play early in the afternoon, but we tried and worked hard until the end.”

Speaking after his side were left off pace in the race for Round-of-16 qualification with just a point from three games, Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica’s resolve was unchanged as he remained adamant there is still much to play for in their remaining three fixtures.

“The first half was particularly good; we scored, went 1-0 up, had two or three chances but we did not take them and ultimately that is what the game has come down to,” said Corica.

“We should have been up by two or three goals by half-time, but we did not take our chances, and they took theirs.

“It is a tough situation now. I thought we had to get three points to move forward, but we still have three more games.

"The task will be very difficult but hopefully we have an opportunity. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are not easy opponents, but we believe in our abilities.”

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