AFC Champions League 2017: Shanghai SIPG edge Guangzhou in bizarre game; Persepolis keep dream alive

Comments()
Getty Images
While Shanghai SIPG had to withstand an inspired fightback from Guangzhou Evergrande, Persepolis' route to the semifinals was less arduous...

Two of the AFC Champions League quarterfinals were decided on Tuesday with Shanghai SIPG and Persepolis making the last four in contrasting styles. Let's take a look at what transpired in the two games in the continent's premier club competition: 


GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE 5-1 SHANGHAI SIPG (5-5 on aggregate) (Shanghai win 5-4 on penalties) [Alan 21', 35' Goulart 83', 91', 118' - Hulk 110']


Guangzhou Evergrande vs Shanghai SIPG

At the end of an extraordinary game in Guangzhou, Shanghai SIPG had to rely on the lottery of the penalty shootouts to reach the final four of the AFC Champions League despite winning the first leg 4-0! Luiz Felipe Scolari's side produced a miraculous game to peg Shanghai back from a hopeless position but were left heartbroken by the penalty shootout loss in the end. 

Guangzhou Evergrande, playing like men possessed, and scored the first goal of the game in the 21st minute through Alan, who capitalised on a defensive mixup to round the goalkeeper and find the back of the net. The former FC Salzburg man proceeded to sow seeds of doubt into Shanghai SIPG players' mind by converting a bullet header in the 35th minute from Zhang Linpeng's cross from the right. 

Post the break, it seemed as if Shanghai would hold on to their lead until the final seven minutes when Ricardo Goulart spurred Guangzhou to level the game. First, in the 83rd minute, he scored a diving header to leave the game tantalisingly poised. In injury time, he popped up again to score a header to pull Guangzhou level and extend the game into a tie-break which was full of drama. 

First Wang Jiajie was sent off for Shanghai SIPG in the 97th minute but in the second half of extra time, star winger Hulk curled home a sensational free-kick to put Andre Villas-Boas' side ahead. But with minutes left in the game, Wang Shenchao of Shanghai SIPG fouled Muriqui inside the area and saw a red card while Goulart completed his hat-trick from the spot to take the game to the shootout. 

However, Goulart would go from hero to villain after he missed Guangzhou;s opening penalty while all the rest of the takers would score to send Shanghai SIPG through. 


AL AHLI 1-3 PERSEPOLIS (3-5 on aggregate) [Al-Jamaan 52' - Alipour 5' Mensha 83' Taremi 90+4']


Al Ahli vs Persepolis

Syria's Al Ahli FC's Asian dream ended at home on Tuesday, after Iran's Persepolis reached the semifinals after a 3-1 win in the second leg following two late penalties. After the first leg ended 2-2, Al Ahli were in the driving seat with the advantage of two away goals, but have seen Persepolis keep their incredible run going. 

Article continues below

It was the Iranians who got off to a flying start in the game, racing into the lead as early as in the 5th minute when Ali Alipour latched on to a long ball and outmuscled his marker before placing the ball into the net expertly. However, their joy was shortlived as Kamal Kamyabinia received a straight red card for a challenge on Waleed Bakshwan in the 12th minute. 

Al Ahli managed to get a goal back against the depleted opposition at the start of the second half when Saleh Al Amri curled an exquisite shot in from the edge of the area. At this point, Al Ahli were going through on away goals but Persepolis mounted a spirited attempt to score another. 

It turned fruitful in the 83rd minute when Al Ahli captain Motaz Hawsawi handled the ball while trying to clear the ball off the line and was sent off. Godwin Mensha converted the spotkick to send Persepolis players into delirium which was made even sweeter when they were awarded another penalty in injury-time. Star striker Mehdi Taremi converted it promptly to lend some gloss to the scoreline. 

Close