Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Osaka: Wu Lei and Lu Wenjun scored in the second half as Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG remained on course for a place in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League after edging out Japan’s Gamba Osaka 2-0 on Wednesday.
Wu broke the deadlock following a neat interchange of passes six minutes after the hour mark of an entertaining Group G contest at Suita Football Stadium before Lu’s deflected volley with 18 minutes remaining sealed the win.
And having beaten 2008 AFC Champions League winners Gamba 2-1 at home last month, Shanghai will head into the final two games of the group stage at the top of Group G after recording a third consecutive win of their maiden continental campaign, with the J.League side now yet to record a win in four games.
“We played very good football, and I am proud of our team and the performance we had,” said Shanghai coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.
“We know and everybody knows that playing in Japan against a top team is always difficult. I think we are very, very good today.
“We won 2-0 and really deserve that. I’m a happy man today and am proud of the team and the club and our players because they worked hard and did exactly what we wanted to do, exactly what we talked about before the game.”
After Gamba striker Takashi Usami had shot straight at visiting goalkeeper Yan Junling, Shanghai enjoyed the better of the first-half chances as Gamba custodian Masaaki Higashiguchi had to be at his best after 18 minutes to push away a vicious dipping free-kick from Dario Conca.
And Higashiguchi was fortunate not to concede the opener three minutes later as the Gamba goalkeeper failed to hold Elkeson’s deflected strike from outside of the penalty area only for Yu Hai to bundle the rebound wide from close range.
Gamba, though, finished the opening 45 minutes on top as Usami’s strike from the edge of the area was tipped over the crossbar by Shanghai goalkeeper Yan.
And Gamba came close to the breakthrough five minutes into the second half, but after racing onto a through ball which took a fortunate deflection, Brazilian striker Patric was denied by a smart save by an alert Yan in the Shanghai goal.
Shanghai also had their chances at the start of the second half as Higashiguchi had to be on his toes to push away Lu’s low shot at his near post from Wu’s pullback just before the hour mark.
But Higashiguchi was beaten in the 66th minute as Wu burst into the penalty area after a quick exchange of passes with Lu before beating a wrong-footed goalkeeper with a composed finish.
And Shanghai remained on the front foot and doubled their lead with 18 minutes remaining as Yasuyuki Konno’s headed clearance after Higashiguchi had saved from Wu dropped to Lu on the edge of the area and the forward’s first-time volley found the back of net courtesy of a crucial deflection from Koki Yonekura which gave the unsighted Gamba goalkeeper no chance.
“It was a complete defeat for us today. The Shanghai players played with stronger determination when they were fighting for the ball and also competing in a duel against their opponent,” said Gamba coach Kenta Hasegawa.
“I feel very sorry for our supporters as we played before them at home and couldn’t show what you can expect from a home game. Our players, I think, played with their determination, but I think this is the reality of us at the moment.
“We should accept this result and move on to play our league game, and since we are barely surviving in the ACL, we’d like to make good preparation for our next game against FC Seoul, which will be at our home again.”
Photo: Lagardère Sports