Round of 16 - 1st Leg: Shanghai SIPG FC (CHN) 1-1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC (KOR)
Shanghai: Two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will take the slimmest of advantages into the second leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 meeting with China PR’s Shanghai SIPG FC next week after picking up an away goal in their 1-1 draw at the Shanghai Stadium on Wednesday.
Moon Seon-min gave Jeonbuk a dream start when Jose Morais’ side took the lead with less than a minute on the clock only for Wang Shenchao to level the scores six minutes before half-time with a close range header.
But Moon’s goal means a goalless draw next week at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium will be enough for the 2006 and 2016 winners to advance to the last eight of the competition for the ninth time in their history.
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Jeonbuk wasted no time making an impact in their 11th appearance in the knockout phase and, with less than a minute on the clock, the former champions were in front. Lim Sun-young clipped the ball over SIPG’s defence and into the path of Moon, whose finish looped over goalkeeper Yan Junling before crossing the line.
Moon almost repeated the feat nine minutes later after Kim Jin-soo unlocked the SIPG backline with an inch-perfect pass from deep on the Jeonbuk left but, while the midfielder was quick enough to latch onto the pass, his shot was blocked by Yan.
The hosts were rattled by Jeonbuk’s rapid start and the Korean side went close once more through Bernie Ibini-Isei, although Yan was again alert enough to steer the Australian’s shot wide.
As the half wore on, though, SIPG established a foothold. Oscar, who had seen an earlier effort saved by Song Bum-keun, sent in a free-kick that Wei Zhen nudged wide while Elkeson headed over seven minutes before the break.
A minute later, though, Vitor Pereira’s team levelled the scores. A poor defensive header by Ibini-Isei fell at the feet of Yu Hai and the China international wasted no time teeing up Wang to head in the equaliser.
In a dramatic end to the half, Kim Shin-wook almost restored Jeonbuk’s lead only to shoot across the face of Yan’s goal while, seconds later, Hulk hit the post from a tight angle having surged beyond Song.
Despite SIPG’s encouraging conclusion to the opening period, it was Jeonbuk who looked the more likely to score again throughout the second half. Ibini-Isei threatened, shooting over before seeing another attempt deflected wide, while Moon was marginally off target with his own pair of efforts.
Ibini-Isei again went close 10 minutes from time as he stabbed another effort narrowly wide and Moon stung Yan’s palms with his shot from distance as time ticked down while Elkeson committed the miss of the match early in injury time when he popped his close range attempt over the Jeonbuk bar.
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