HONG KONG (Reuters) - Andre Villas-Boas lamented that his Shanghai SIPG side had enough chances to win in the 1-1 draw with Urawa Red Diamonds in the semi-final first leg of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.
Yosuke Kashiwagi scored what could turn out to be a vital away goal for the 2007 champions from Japan, after Hulk had given Chinese Super League outfit SIPG the lead early on. The tie is finely poised ahead of the second leg in Japan on Oct. 18.
“I think we had the chance to win,” said the former Chelsea and Porto manager.
“We had 21 shots on goal, they only had three. It’s disappointing. 1-1 is quite an open scoreline and they have an away-goal advantage.”
SIPG, featuring in the semi-finals of the continental championship for the first time, were on the front foot throughout the game and it came as little surprise when Brazilian forward Hulk struck into the bottom corner of the Urawa goal from distance after just 15 minutes of play.
But Urawa came back through Kashiwagi, who side-footed his effort in after a lay-off by Shinzo Koroki just before the half-hour mark.
SIPG continued to press, with Wu Lei going close and former Chelsea midfielder Oscar hitting the post with a second-half free kick, but the Chinese club were unable to make their dominance count.
“I’m sorry I disappointed you guys without more goals,” said Villas-Boas. “We had 21 shots and we should have scored more. But we failed to do so.
“However against Guangzhou Evergrande (quarter-final) we won at home 4-0 but lost 1-5 away. So this result is very open. We will do our best in the next match.”
Meanwhile, Syrian striker Omar Khribin scored a hat-trick to steer Al Hilal to a 4-0 win over Iran’s Persepolis in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday, as the Saudi Arabian club took a huge step towards qualifying for their first continental final since 2014.
Khribin gave the Riyadh-based club the lead before Yassir Al Shahrani doubled his side’s advantage.
Abdullah Otayf’s sending off shortly after half-time was unable to derail Al Hilal as Ramon Diaz’s team scored twice more through Khribin to establish a huge advantage ahead of next month’s second leg.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge