Urawa Reds vs Shanghai SIPG
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 18 October 2017
Kick-off: 12:30 CET
Urawa Reds did what looked almost… impossible in Shanghai, three weeks ago. Excluding one match, they had looked average (if not way below that) in a whole month that was full of games, a period in which they had mostly under-performed. They were visiting a team that had an incredible record at home in the Champions League, they went 1-0 down just 15 minutes into the match, but still, found it in them to equalize soon (beautiful goal, product of a marvelous team effort), and truth is, they were a bit lucky to avoid conceding again until the final whistle. Massive 1-1 draw for Urawa, and a huge opportunity for them to qualify for the final. They’ve played two games since then, beating Vegalta Sendai 3-2 away from home, and drawing 1-1 to Vissel Kobe in Saitama, last weekend. They are sitting just 7th in the table in the J-League, eight whole points behind third-placed Kashiwa Reysol, and a massive 19 behind leaders Kashima Antlers.
Shanghai SIPG had won all their six home games in the Champions League this season before hosting Urawa Reds three weeks ago. Actually, in all but one of those games, they had scored at least three goals, with their “worst” day being a 2-1 win over Jiangsu Suning, when they scored “just” twice. Generally, they had 11 wins and just one – goalless – draw in all 12 home matches in the Champions League, 2016 included (which is when they played in the competition for the first time). Even so, despite taking the lead with a powerful Hulk shot from a distance, they got… hypnotized by Urawa’s team effort in the 28th minute, got equalized and just failed to take the lead again, despite having good chances, including an Oscar free-kick on the post. They have already lost at Urawa earlier this year, in the group stage, 1-0, but obviously this is a totally-totally different game. Still, their away record is a source of concern, as they have lost three of their five games, including an incredible 5-1 humiliation at Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarterfinals, which almost cost them the qualification (they had won 4-0 at home in the first leg). Ever since that 1-1 to Urawa, they’ve beaten Guangzhou Evergrande (4-1! Away from home! It was a China FA Cup semifinal, return leg, they had won 2-1 at home as well), while last weekend they drew 3-3 at Liaoning Kaixin, a truly shocking result. Kaixin are sitting at the bottom of the table, second-placed Shanghai SIPG had cut the gap to leaders Guangzhou Evergrande to four points, but it’s now back to six, with just three games remaining.
Previous five matches:
Urawa Reds vs Vissel Kobe 1-1
Vegalta Sendai vs Urawa Reds 2-3
Shanghai SIPG vs Urawa Reds 1-1
Urawa Reds vs Sagan Tosu 2-2
Urawa Reds vs Kashima Antlers 2-4
Liaoning Kaixin vs Shanghai SIPG 3-3
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Shanghai SIPG 1-4
Shanghai SIPG vs Urawa Reds 1-1
Beijing Guoan vs Shanghai SIPG 0-1
Shanghai SIPG vs Shanghai Shenhua 6-1
Next game for Urawa Reds is on Sunday, again at home, versus Gamba Osaka (J-League match). Same day, Shanghai SIPG will be hosting Guangzhou R&F (China Super League game).
Urawa Reds vs Shanghai SIPG: Head to head Stats
Urawa have hosted Shanghai SIPG just once before, earlier this season, during the AFC Champions League group stage. They won that game, 1-0.
Urawa Reds vs Shanghai SIPG: Prediction
Urawa are considered clear favorites to win this game, but I’m going against the odds, suggesting Shanghai SIPG double chance.
Urawa Reds vs Shanghai SIPG: Betting Tips
“Draw or Shanghai SIPG” is at 1.80 betting odds. Their win in “draw no bet” pays 2.63. Deep down, I do expect them to qualify.
More AFC Champions League betting tips and match previews: