Sydney FC 1 (Buhagiar 8') def. by Shanghai SIPG 2 (Li Shenglong 64’, 79')
Sydney FC have gone down narrowly to Chinese Super League powerhouse Shanghai SIPG 2-1 in their AFC Champions League restart in Doha, Qatar.
Moments That Mattered:
- BARBAROUSES CHANCE - 5’ – Milos Ninkovic plays a direct and slick ball in behind for Trent Buhagiar who squares to Kosta Barbarouses but the Kiwi is unable to steer his effort on target in front of goal.
- BUHAGIAR GOAL - 8’ - A long ball releases Barbarouses playing a delightful reverse ball to find the outstretched boot of Buhagiar whose effort finds the top left of the net.
- WARLAND CHANCE - 14' - A beautifully whipped corner from Alex Baumjohann finds Ben Warland whose glancing header hits the post and is half cleared to Paulo Retre, however the follow up effort from the midfielder goes over the bar.
- SHENGLONG CHANCE - 30’ - The Chinese powerhouse go close to squaring the ledger as Li Shenglong’s glancing header finds the side netting.
- BARBAROUSES CHANCE - 56’ - A floated ball to the back post is met by Rhyan Grant who heads back across the face of goal for Barbarouses who can’t get enough power on his glancing header.
- SHENGLONG GOAL - 64’ - Socceroo Aaron Mooy finds the centre forward unmarked in the box and Shenglong heads home to level the match.
- SHENGLONG GOAL - 79’ - Yu Hai delivers a quality ball into the box for Li Shenglong to latch onto with a glancing header that grazes the far post and bounces in.
- HEWARD-BELLE SENT OFF - 88’ - Custodian Tom Heward-Belle is shown a straight red card for punching the ball well outside his area as Shanghai looked to rapidly counter.
You would be forgiven for thinking the Sky Blues were the team who were in season, as Sydney FC imposed themselves on one Asia’s footballing powerhouses from the kick off in Qatar.
A rapid and impressive start was dully rewarded as Trent Buhagiar’s outstretched half-volleyed effort rifled the back of the net within the first ten minutes of the clash.
Apart from a sustained level of pressure from Shanghai late in the first half, Sydney FC dominated the majority of the opening 45 minutes, with further chances to Kosta Barbarouses and Ben Warland going astray.
A rejuvenated Shanghai SIPG outfit provided a sterner challenge for the Sky Blues in the second stanza as the Chinese Super League started to establish more control over the contest beyond the hour mark.
In a flip of the first half, Shanghai’s lively opening resulted in a goal to square the ledger of the game as Socceroo Aaron Mooy provided a measured cross who found Li Shenglong in the middle of the box for the striker to nod home.
As fatigue set in for Corica’s men, Shanghai continued to press and managed to find what would be the decisive goal again via a well measured cross, as Li Shenglong bagged a brace with a glancing header.
The Sky Blues continued to press on in search of an equaliser against a compact and structured Shanghai, however this task was made all the more difficult as goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle was shown his marching orders for punching away a clear goal scoring chance outside his box in stoppage time.
Having made all the changes allowed, Steve Corica relied on Rhyan Grant to finish the game in goals, and with very little time left, this would be the last flash point in what was an action packed encounter in Doha.
Sydney FC now turn their attention to a clash against K-League Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Wednesday 25th November (kick off 9pm AEDT).
What They Said:
Head Coach Steve Corica:
"First half was very, very good from us. We played really well. We scored the goal, went 1-0 up and had two or three chances after that. We didn’t take them and that’s what the game came down to in the end.
"We should have been winning 3-0 at half time and then maybe the game is finished. It’s normally the case, if you don’t take your chances you can get in trouble, and that’s what happened in the second half, they had two chances and they scored two goals. It was a disappointing end to the game."
On Trent Buhagiar :
"I thought he was excellent tonight, he took his goal well. He played well for most of the game. He’s really standing up, he’s had a good pre-season and scored plenty of goals in pre-season and he has continued that today."
Sydney FC: 20. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 3. Ben WARLAND (2. Patrick FLOTTMANN 83’), 4. Alex WILKINSON, 5. Alexander BAUMJOHANN (18. Luke IVANOVIC 67’), 7. Michael ZULLO, 8. Paulo RETRE, 10. Milos NINKOVIC, 11. Kosta BARBAROUSES (33. Patrick WOOD 83’), 12. Trent BUHAGIAR (19. Chris ZUVELA 77’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 28. Calem NIEUWENHOF
Subs: 30. Adam PAVLESIC (GK), 40. Levi KAYE (GK), 21. Harry Van Der SAAG, 27. Jordi SWIBEL.
Yellow Cards: 5. Alexander BAUMJOHANN 22’, 19. Chris ZUVELA 87’
Red Cards: 20. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK) 90+2’
Shanghai SIPG: 34. Chen WEI (GK), 4. Wang SHENCHAO, 9. Ricardo LOPES (37. Chen BINBIN 75’), 10. HULK (24. Lei WENJIE 75’), 11. Lu WENJUN (16. Mirahmetjan MUZEPPER 45’), 13. Wei ZHEN, 14. Li SHENGLONG, 20. Yang SHIYUAN, 23. Fu HUAN (21. Yu HAI 45’), 26. Aaron MOOY (15. Lin CHUANGYI 85’), 28. He GUAN
Subs: 22. Sun LE (GK), 3. Yu RUI, 6. Cai HUIKANG, 18. Zhang YI, 40. Chunxin CHEN.
Yellow Cards: 11. Lu WENJUN 36'
Red Cards: None.
Ground: Khalifa International Stadium