November 26, 2017 / 5:33 PM / in a year

Soccer: Shenhua win Chinese FA Cup against Villas-Boas's SIPG

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Andre Villas-Boas refused to discuss his future as coach of Shanghai SIPG after seeing his side lose to cross-city rivals Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese FA Cup final on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Andre Villas-Boas (R), coach of Shanghai SIPG Football Club, attends the 2017 SIPG Football Club's season mobilization of the Chinese Super League, in Shanghai, China February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

Shenhua won the trophy for the first time since 1998 with a victory on away goals after the teams shared a 3-3 aggregate draw, with SIPG winning Sunday’s second leg 3-2 at Shanghai Stadium.

Goals from Cao Yunding and Obafemi Martins gave Shenhua the edge and ensured Wu Jingui’s side book a spot in the group phase of next year’s Asian Champions League while SIPG ended the season without a trophy despite a huge outlay on foreign talent.

“It is not the right time to talk about whether I’m staying or leaving,” said the former Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Zenit St Petersburg manager Villas-Boas.

“SIPG knows my decision, so will you. But this is not the best time to talk about it.”

The club have spent more than 150 million euros on foreign players over the last two years, with Oscar the headline signing when he joined for 60m euros in January soon after Villas-Boas replaced Sven-Goran Eriksson at the helm.

Despite the investment, SIPG were unable to end Guangzhou Evergrande’s dominance of the Chinese Super League as they finished runners-up behind Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team and they ended the season without a trophy.

“Of course I hoped we would gain a championship,” said Villas-Boas.

“In fact, we had our chances and we were almost there. This is our dream. It is my responsibility that we failed.

Shenhua too were not without their problems at the end of a season in which the club finished a lowly 11th in the Chinese Super League.

Carlos Tevez, who was signed amid a blaze of publicity, was left out of the squad for Sunday’s second leg and returned to his native Argentina overnight, but his absence was not enough to deny Shenhua.

“I will just enjoy this moment and not think about next season,” said Wu, who replaced Gus Poyet as coach in September.

“I have to say Tevez has always been crucial to the team since his arrival here, and he helped a lot in games too.

“It must have been a big hit to his confidence and pride when he knew that he was not in the roster of Chinese FA Cup final.”

Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Ian Chadband

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