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Shanghai SIPG reaches ACL group stages

By Richard Whiddington | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-10 16:49

Shanghai SIPG reaches ACL group stages

Shanghai SIPG's Oscar in action against Sukhothaiin during their Asian Champions League qualifying play-off in Shanghai on Feb 7. [Photo/VCG]

Shanghai SIPG F.C succeeded where their city rivals, Shanghai Shenhua F.C., failed with an imperious 3-0 win against Thai side Sukhothaiin the Asian Champions League qualifying playoff on Feb 7.

The onus was certainly on André Villas-Boas' expensively assembled side to reach the group stages and the Red Eagles didn't disappoint in front of an expectant home crowd.

Although the opening half an hour proved testing, Shanghai's Brazilian trio of Hulk, Oscar, and Elkeson effectively ended the contest before the halftime whistle was blown.

Oscar's performance, in particular, will have pleased the home fans with the midfielder neatly finishing off a counter-attack into the bottom left-hand corner to put his side ahead after 34 minutes. The other goals came through a scrappy Elkeson shot and a second half own goal.

Truthfully, a resounding win was imperative against a mediocre Thai side that finished seventh in its domestic league and only qualified for the game through their success in the Thai FA Cup. Shanghai will hope the game gives them confidence leading into the Chinese Super League (CSL) season.

Villas-Boas' side have been drawn in Group F alongside F.C. Seoul, Urawa Red Diamonds, and Western Sydney. They join Guangzhou Evergrande and Jiangsu Suning in the competition with both sides having automatically qualified for the group stage through their 2016 league positions.

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