2017 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Hulk (53')
  • He Guan (59')

Hulk stunner gives Shanghai SIPG 1-0 win over FC Seoul in ACL

Big-spending Shanghai SIPG made it two wins in a row in the 2017 AFC Champions League as Hulk's spectacular second-half strike earned Andre Villas-Boas' team a 1-0 win over FC Seoul on Tuesday.

The former Porto and Zenit St Petersburg striker -- signed last summer for €55 million -- scored eight minutes into the second half to secure all three points for SIPG, who join Urawa Red Diamonds as first day winners in Group F after the Japanese side's 4-0 trouncing of the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Shanghai were forced to hold on for the final 30 minutes after going a man down when He Guan was sent off for bringing Dejan Damjanovic down in the penalty area, with the Montenegro forward seeing his effort from 12 yards saved by SIPG goalkeeper Yang Junling.

But even the introduction of former Monaco striker Park Chu-young could not swing the game back in the home side's favour as Shanghai continued their perfect start to the season.

Villas-Boas started with the same line-up that saw off Sukhothai in the playoffs two weeks ago when Shanghai SIPG secured their berth in the competition's group stages for the second season in a row.

Here, however, they met an opponent that was a lot less compliant than the Thais, with the FC Seoul midfield working hard to close down the space and deny SIPG's much-vaunted attacking trio of Brazilians -- Hulk, Oscar and Elkeson -- the time to turn and run at the home side's backline.

Time and again the Chinese club were left frustrated and it was the home team who looked more likely to take the lead in the opening half. Damjanovic squandered a pair of chances, heading straight at Yang and scuffing a weak shot from 12 yards either side of Hulk letting fly from range for Shanghai, with Yoo comfortably collecting.

Oscar was struggling to find a foothold in the opening 45 minutes and the former Chelsea man's frustrations threatened to spill over when he was booked following an altercation with Lee Sang-ho while Elkeson could only steer his weak header into the arms of Yoo Hyun in the final seconds of the half.

FC Seoul had done a fine job frustrating their visitors and so it came as something of a surprise when Shanghai took the lead. A typically muscular run down the right from Hulk saw the former Porto man eventually step inside before unleashing an drive that arrowed into the top corner, giving Yoo no chance.

Yoo's save to deny Wu Lei minutes later kept FC Seoul in the game and the home side should have been level by the hour mark when Damjanovic was awarded a soft penalty after he appeared to be pulled back by He, who was sent to the changing rooms to leave SIPG a man short.

Damjanovic was unable to take the opportunity from 12 yards as Yang dived to his right to save and Shanghai faced the final 30 minutes a man down. Villas-Boas reacted by withdrawing Elkeson for defender Zhang Wei.

FC Seoul sought to crank up the pressure by introducing former Monaco and Arsenal forward Park in an attempt to make the most of their man-advantage, but it mattered little as Shanghai held on to give themselves the perfect start to their continental campaign.