Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
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Shanghai SIPG survived an almighty scare to sneak into the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League 5-4 on penalties and break Guangzhou Evergrande hearts on Tuesday. Midfielder Yu Hai was the hero for Andre Villas-Boas's side, holding his nerve to bury the decisive spot-kick and SIPG will face either of the Japanese teams Kawasaki Frontale or Urawa Reds in the last four.

It was a thrilling game of high drama between the top two teams in the Chinese Super League (CSL). Hosts Evergrande won 5-1 on the night in extra time, the quarter-final tie ending 5-5 on aggregate. The Brazilian Ricardo Goulart scored a hat-trick for Evergrande, forcing extra time with his second and then rescuing the game at 5-5 on 118 minutes.

But it was he who missed Evergrande's penalty in the shootout, hitting the post, leaving him in tears afterwards as the SIPG players and staff celebrated on the pitch. The battered visitors SIPG played most of extra time with 10 men after Wang Jiajie was booked for a second time and they finished the game with nine men. The Brazilian bruiser Hulk stepped up on 110 minutes to slam the ball into the net with a blockbuster of a free-kick and make it a scarcely believable 5-4 on aggregate.

But just when SIPG thought they were going through, the Brazilian Muriqui was felled in the box, Wang Shenchao was sent off and Goulart buried the penalty with two minutes left on the clock for 5-5 on aggregate, his hat-trick and penalties. The 28-year-old winger Alan was chief tormentor in the first half of normal time, punishing some slapstick SIPG defending to give Evergrande a glimmer of hope on 21 minutes when he rounded Yan Junling, who was a bundle of nerves throughout.

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