SHANGHAI – Brazilian striker Hulk scored twice from the penalty spot to rescue Shanghai SIPG in a 2-2 stalemate against Urawa Reds in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday.
J. League side Urawa will go into its home second leg as the slight favorite on the away goals rule, but it could have been so much better after it led 2-0 at the break.
Shanghai’s Chinese international goalkeeper Yan Junling was badly at fault for the opener as Urawa threatened to go goal-crazy at a stunned Shanghai Stadium.
On only three minutes he flapped at a high ball, dropping it at the feet of Tomoaki Makino, who swiveled to fire into an empty net.
The home side complained bitterly but Yan was culpable, spilling the ball under negligible pressure from Makino.
On 30 minutes the visitors, two-time Asian champions, stretched their lead when Shinzo Koroki ran through on goal and slotted under Yan, who again might have done better.
Shanghai’s record of never losing in the Asian Champions League at home in 19 matches was in serious danger.
Boos rang out at halftime in the direction of referee Mohammed Abdulla Hassan of the United Arab Emirates, the home crowd feeling that Yan was fouled for the opener.
Marko Arnautovic, signed from West Ham United during the summer, was making his Asian Champions League debut for Shanghai, but the striker was subdued throughout.
Vitor Pereira’s expensively assembled side, whose domestic league defense is faltering, emerged for the second half with intent and scored on 49 minutes.
Oscar, an Asian-record €60 million capture from Chelsea in 2017, took on several Urawa players before he was felled in the box.
It looked harsh on the visitors, with Oscar appearing to leave his leg in to win the penalty.
His fellow Brazilian Hulk smacked in the spot-kick and Urawa was reeling.
On 71 minutes it was 2-2 thanks to another Hulk penalty after Brazilian defender Antonio Mauricio inadvertently blocked a goal-bound shot with his arm.
The second leg is on Sept. 17.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5