Hulk earns draw for SIPG against Frontale

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, May 8, 2019
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Hulk (R) of China's Shanghai SIPG FC shoots during the Group H match between China's Shanghai SIPG FC and Japan's Kawasaki Frontale at the 2019 AFC Champions League in Kawasaki, Japan, May 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Ma Caoran)

Kawasaki Frontale's 2019 AFC Champions League Group H campaign hangs in a delicate balance after the two-time defending J.League champions drew 2-2 with Shanghai SIPG at the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium on Tuesday.

Hulk struck either side of half-time to deny the Japanese the win with Leandro Damiao and Shogo Taniguchi scoring for Kawasaki, who remained stuck in third place in Group H behind leaders Ulsan Hyundai and Shanghai.

After being held to another 2-2 home draw by Ulsan two weeks ago, Kawasaki were badly in need of all three points against the Chinese visitors.

Victory for Toru Oniki's men would have catapulted them into second place behind Ulsan Hyundai while defeat would eliminate them from the Continent's flagship club championship with a game to spare. 

Despite having their backs against the wall, the hosts were hit hard after just six minutes when former Kawasaki player Hulk scored his second goal of the competition to push Shanghai in front.

Oscar stripped Manabu Saito in his own half to launch a counter-attack and Hulk outsprinted Kyohei Noborizato to set up a one-on-one with Kawasaki goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong. Hulk kept his composure in the face of the custodian, neatly rounding Jung before slotting home into an empty net at his old stomping ground. 

Shanghai's lead, nevertheless, did not last for long as Kawasaki levelled in the 13th minute when Damiao opened his 2019 AFC Champions League account.

After being dispossessed for Hulk's opener, Saito made amends by playing a one-two with Damiao just outside the box. Damiao finished off the pretty sequence by netting into the bottom left corner. 

Following a cagey first half, Frontale grabbed the lead they had been desperately seeking six minutes past the hour-mark through centre-back Taniguchi, who nodded in an early Hidemasa Morita cross from the right wing that brought the crowd to their feet.

Yet the Kawasaki supporters were given just five minutes to enjoy Taniguchi's header as Hulk again tormented the home side with his second of the evening. Oscar assisted with a long cross from the left for the far post, where Hulk managed to put away a difficult header on the run to restore parity before the final whistle.

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