Preview - QF 2nd Leg: Urawa Red Diamonds (2) v Shanghai SIPG FC (2)
Saitama: Something will have to give on Tuesday when the two-time champions of Asia host the Chinese Super League holders in the second leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final at Saitama Stadium.
Two first-half goals had stunned the home crowd at Shanghai Stadium last month when Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki gave visitors Urawa Red Diamonds a 2-0 lead at the break, but two penalties emphatically converted by Hulk after the restart saw the scores finish level in China PR.
With the away goal advantage and in front of their home support, Urawa have been left in a strong position to advance to the last four for the fourth time in seven appearances, while Shanghai SIPG would be looking to reach just their second semi-final.
Hashioka: I want to emulate my heroes and be an Asian champion
Saitama: Inspired by Urawa Red Diamonds' previous success in the AFC Champions League, young star Daiki Hashioka is dreaming of Continental glory ahead of Tuesday's quarter-final second leg clash with Shanghai SIPG.
Many of Urawa Reds current side know what it takes, and what it feels like, to be AFC Champions League winners. Less than two years ago, the likes of Shusaku Nishikawa, Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki lifted the trophy into the Saitama night sky.
Two from that squad, captain Yuki Abe and Tadaaki Hirakawa, had also won the title 10 years earlier; a success that had a profound impact on current defender Hashioka, the youngest player in the first team.
Saitama: Brazilian star Oscar insists that Shanghai SIPG can get over the suspension of compatriot and leading scorer Hulk and defeat hosts Urawa Red Diamonds in their 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday.
The two South Americans have once again been on top of their game in the Continental competition and both played vital roles in the first leg comeback that saw the Chinese champions restore parity after going into the interval two goals down.
Oscar drew the foul from countryman Mauricio Antonio that led to Hulk’s first successful penalty, before the latter then converted a second spot-kick following a handball.
Nagasawa ready to renew battle with Shanghai SIPG's stars
Saitama: Urawa Red Diamonds' midfielder Kazuki Nagasawa admitted that facing some of the biggest names in the game is a major motivation ahead of the second leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final against a star-studded Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday.
Much of the hype ahead of Shanghai and Urawa's first meeting revolved around the former's new headline trio of attackers as Brazilians Hulk and Oscar were joined by former West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic, making his debut in Asia's premier club competition.
However, the man who made the biggest impact in the first half was none of the three but instead all-action 27-year-old Nagasawa who had a hand in both of Urawa's opening goals that stunned the hosts. First his free-kick was forced home by Tomoaki Makino, and then it was his incisive pass that picked out striker Shinzo Koroki to double the lead.
Team of ‘warriors’ can win third title, insists Urawa legend Ponte
Kuala Lumpur: One of the stars who helped Urawa Red Diamonds to their maiden AFC Champions League title believes the Saitama side have what it takes to win the Continental competition for an unprecedented third time.
Back in 2007, Robson Ponte was Urawa’s top scorer as the Reds became the first Japanese team to lift the AFC Champions League when they overcame the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sepahan in the final after a 2-0 win at Saitama Stadium secured a 3-1 aggregate victory.
So often the setting for dramatic encounters, Saitama – where Urawa also won the 2017 title – will play host to the quarter-final second leg against Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday and, with the score tied at 2-2 after the first leg, Ponte is confident the two-time winners have what it takes to advance past the Chinese champions.
Kuala Lumpur: All four ties in the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals remain firmly in the balance ahead of the second legs this week with the eight sides maintaining realistic hopes of advancing to the semi-finals.
Going into the matches, only Al Nassr start with a lead while the other three fixtures will kick off all square. Ahead of what promises to be an intriguing few days packed with drama and tension, the-AFC.com has picked five things to look out for.
Kuala Lumpur: The identity of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finalists will be revealed this week, with the decisive second legs of the quarter-finals taking place across Asia from Monday to Wednesday.
All four quarter-finals are finely poised with only Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr ahead on aggregate - albeit by just one goal - after the first meetings last month.
As such, Qatar's Al Sadd, Saudi pair Al Hilal and Al Ittihad, Urawa Red Diamonds and Kashima Antlers of Japan along with Chinese Super League duo Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande all remain in the running for a place in the final four.