September 25, 2017 / 7:25 AM / 9 months ago

Soccer: SIPG boss Villas-Boas to learn fate ahead of ACL semi

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Andre Villas-Boas’ fractious relationship with Asia’s football authorities is set to come to a head as he faces the prospect of watching his Shanghai SIPG side take on Urawa Red Diamonds in the Asian Champions League semi-finals from the stands on Wednesday.

Football Soccer - Zenit St. Petersburg Press conference - Champions League - Petrovsky stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia - 08/03/16 Zenit St. Petersburg's coach Andre Villas-Boas attends a news conference prior to their Champions League soccer match against Benfica. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

The Portuguese coach is currently under investigation by the Asian Football Confederation’s disciplinary committee following his outburst in the aftermath of SIPG’s dramatic quarter-final win over fellow Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.

SIPG squandered a 4-0 first-leg advantage before defeating the two-time Asian champions in a penalty shootout, after which Villas-Boas slammed the AFC over the standard of officiating across the two matches and what he viewed as preferential treatment for Guangzhou.

“Zhang Linpeng should be suspended from this game because he used his elbow in the first game and he’s not suspended because the committee of ethics and discipline at AFC did not judge an elbow as violent conduct,” said Villas-Boas.

“This is the greatest achievement for SIPG ever because it’s against a club that is dominating the AFC.”

A decision on whether Villas-Boas will be punished and, if so, the sanction he will face will be made ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Urawa at Saitama Stadium outside Tokyo.

Villas-Boas has been in trouble throughout his first season working in Asian football.

He served a two-game ban in the CSL earlier this year for questioning the eight-match suspension handed down to SIPG’s Oscar, while on Friday he was sent to the stands for repeatedly questioning refereeing decisions as SIPG defeated Beijing Guoan to close the gap on leaders Guangzhou.

SIPG are playing in their first ACL semi-final, having lost in last year’s quarters under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

They take on an Urawa side that last won the continental title 10 years ago.

The return meeting will be staged at Shanghai Stadium on Oct. 18, with the winners facing either Iran’s Persepolis or Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the final in November.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford

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