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Guangzhou: Shanghai SIPG have a first-ever AFC Champions League semi-final in their sights after a 4-0 win in the first leg of the quarter-final with domestic rivals Guangzhou Evergrande handed the two-time champions a mountain to climb ahead of the reverse fixture at Tianhe Stadium on Tuesday.
 


Guangzhou Evergrande

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men have been far from their best in this year’s competition but have proven hard to beat, with the second-leg defeat against Kashima Antlers in the Round of 16 their only reversal prior to the meeting with Shanghai.

But, up against their fellow Chinese Super League side, the former winners were found wanting last month and the emphatic 4-0 scoreline now leaves them staring elimination firmly in the face.

Guangzhou will look to carry their strong domestic form into the clash after goals from Brazilian duo Ricardo Goulart and Alan helped them to a 3-1 victory over Changchun Yatai on Friday to make it five league wins on the bounce. 

Like Goulart, striker Muriqui knows what it takes to achieve continental glory with Guangzhou, having done so in 2013, but the returning Brazilian will need to produce something special if he is to help the southern Chinese team remain in the competition.


Shanghai SIPG

Shanghai SIPG’s superb home form has now seen them win five games from five, with the first-leg routing of Guangzhou the undoubted highlight.

A Hulk penalty and Wang Shenchao’s goal just before half-time had Andre Villas-Boas’ men two up at the interval, before a quick-fire Wu Lei double just after the hour gave Shanghai a resounding win.

Wu grabbed another in a 3-1 victory over Tianjin Teda on Saturday although Shanghai remain eight points adrift of Guangzhou in the race for the Chinese Super League title. 

Hulk will look to continue his incredible run of scoring in every game he’s played on the continent this year and, with attacking options aplenty for the tournament’s top scorers, Guangzhou may well need more than a four-goal haul to get themselves back into the tie.


Ones To Watch: First Leg Stats

Suspensions: Fu Huan, He Guan (both Shanghai SIPG)

Guangzhou Evergrande vs Shanghai SIPG
Venue: Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou
Kick-off: September 12, 20:00 UTC+8

Photos: Lagardère Sports