Shanghai SIPG leave head coach Pereira teary eyed
Jeonju: 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 by virtue of a penalty shootout win over two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Wednesday.
The Portuguese coach, who took over from Andre Villas Boas ahead of the 2018 season and led the club to their first-ever title last season when they won the domestic championship, put his emotions on display as Shanghai advanced to the last eight for the third time in four seasons.
Oscar scored from the spot in the fifth round of penalties to take Shanghai through after a 1-1 draw on the night meant the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate and Pereira was overjoyed with his team’s success.
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“I’m an emotional guy and when we work together and work a lot and achieve our goal then 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,” said the former Porto coach.
“I think about a lot of things and this is emotional. Usually I don't cry, but sometimes if I have a motive to cry then it happens. It’s happiness!”
Pereira had every reason to be delighted after seeing his side overcome a strong Jeonbuk side who dominated much of the game but who were unable to convert more than one of their chances in a thrilling game at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
Kim Shin-wook put Jeonbuk ahead – both on the night and on aggregate - 27 minutes into the second leg but a stellar performance from Hulk, who equalised 10 minutes from the end of normal time and also hit the woodwork on three occasions, kept SIPG in the game.
With Oscar converting the fifth penalty after Yan Junling had saved the opening spot-kick from veteran striker Lee Dong-gook – the competition’s record goal scorer – Shanghai were able to celebrate as they advanced to the next round.
There they join fellow Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande and Japanese duo Kashima Antlers, the defending champions, and Urawa Red Diamonds, in a stellar east Asian line-up.
“We saw two strong teams and it was a very difficult game, but I think we showed that we have a strong spirit,” said Pereira of his side.
“We played and we fought and to do this is not easy, to come here and play like this and in the end we deserved the result. I’m very happy and very proud of my players.”
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