Round of 16, Second Leg: What They Said
Kuala Lumpur: The identity of four of the eight 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finalists was decided this week as East Asia's Round of 16 concluded with the second leg games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Social media posts, big game mentality and tears of joy all feature as the-AFC.com talks to those involved in the latest edition of the Continent's most presitigious competition.
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Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors sought to dismiss the influence of Shanghai SIPG’s star striker Hulk in the build-up to their 2019 AFC Champions League clash on Wednesday, but instead the former champions only managed to provoke a stellar reaction from the former Brazil international.
“This is an emotional moment for me and I thought about a lot of things; about family, about people I want to be here with me but who are not here with me. Usually I don't cry, but sometimes if I have a motive to cry then it happens. It’s happiness!”
Shanghai SIPG coach Vitor Pereira was moved to tears as the Chinese Super League champions sealed their spot in the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
"I am thankful that I have been able to score goals at crucial times for the team.I suppose it may be because I have played in many major tournaments and big games previously. In those kind of environments, you need to commit your full ability in these major games."
Paulinho is no stranger to the grandest of stages with FIFA World Cup campaigns and UEFA Champions League appearances to his name, and was pivotal again for Guangzhou Evergrande with a vital brace against Shandong.
103' GOAL!! 3-2 Guangzhou Evergrande!— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) June 25, 2019
It's that man Paulinho who scores his second of the day and pulls his side @GZEvergrande back level in this Round of 16 tie. It's 4-4 on aggregate and the game is heading for penalties if it remains the same. #SDLvGUA #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/m50iPi2Hdw
“Gao Lin hasn’t played for a long time and that’s why he hasn’t played in the last few games. We asked him to play in extra time because he’s the kind of player who gives me confidence. I wanted to see someone I know I can rely on when I need help."
Guangzhou Evergrande coach Fabio Cannavaro praised Gao Lin's fortitude after the injury-hit striker toughed out a testing night in Jinan as the two-time champions defeated Shandong Luneng on penalties.
Two-goal hero Shinzo Koroki hailed the Urawa Red Diamonds fans who travelled to Korea Republic from Japan to witness their side's stunning 3-0 win over Ulsan Hyundai.
“After losing the first game at home it was very difficult for us, but I told the players that even though we faced a tough situation the guys had already done really well. We analysed how Ulsan would play and we knew there was nothing to worry about."
Coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki credited his players self-belief as key to Urawa's big win in Ulsan as the two-time champions booked their place in the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Kashima Antlers' two-goal hero Shoma Doi says all eyes are on winning back-to-back AFC Champions League titles after the holders extended their defence into the quarter-finals following an away goals victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday.
89' GOAL! 2-2 @atlrs_english@sanfrecce_SFC throw everyone forward, including their keeper, for the corner and @atlrs_english pounce as Shoma Doi scores from a long way to seal their progress!#SANvKAS #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/eAqMXLWkDo— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) June 25, 2019
“Everyone worked very hard today and I’m sorry we are eliminated. Sorry to our fans. We didn’t prepare for a penalty shootout before the game but I had confidence in my players.”
Shandong coach Li Xiaopeng revealed his team had not practiced penalties prior to the game against Guangzhou and offered his apologies to Shandong fans for his side’s elimination.
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