Oscar demands better from SIPG in hunt for Asian glory

AFP
SIPG limped to a 1-0 home victory over Thai minnow Chiangrai United in coach Vitor Pereira's first game in charge since taking over from fellow Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas.
AFP

Oscar demanded Shanghai SIPG improve "in many aspects" after the Brazilian star's big-spending side failed to convince in becoming the fourth Chinese team to reach the AFC Champions League group stage.

SIPG limped to a 1-0 home victory over Thai minnow Chiangrai United in coach Vitor Pereira's first game in charge since taking over from fellow Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas.

Pereira, whose appointment late last year was met with a lukewarm response from SIPG fans, has vowed to achieve what Villas-Boas could not and win some silverware in his debut season in China.

But SIPG will have to play better than it did on a chilly and heavily polluted Tuesday night in Shanghai and it had international winger Yu Hai to thank for his scrappy 48th-minute winner.

Attacking midfielder Oscar, who moved to the Chinese Super League a year ago from Chelsea for an Asian-record 60 million euros (US$74.74 million), wore gloves to protect himself in the freezing conditions.

But the 26-year-old refused to use the bitter cold as an excuse for last year's ACL semifinalist.

"The cold weather was the same for both teams. I think we played quite well and the goalkeeper of the other side was very good," said the Brazilian.

"We still need to improve in many aspects and to play better in the next stage."

SIPG, which was captained by the Oscar's compatriot, striker Hulk, goes into an ACL group containing Kawasaki Frontale of Japan, Australia's Melbourne Victory and Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea.

The CSL season does not begin until March, meaning SIPG and the other Chinese sides are still in preseason.

But Pereira, whose previous job was a disastrous spell at 1860 Munich in Germany, said that he could see the team taking shape as he wants it.

"As a coach I want to build a powerful team," he said.

CSL rival Tianjin Quanjian also won its playoff, against Ceres Negros of the Philippines, thanks to two goals from French striker Anthony Modeste in a 2-0 home victory.

It goes into ACL Group E alongside Kitchee SC of China's Hong Kong, Kashiwa Reysol of Japan and the South Koreans Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

CSL champion Guangzhou Evergrande and FA Cup winner Shanghai Greenland Shenhua complete the Chinese contingent in Asia's premier club competition.

The pool stage begins on February 12.

AFP

Kashiwa Reysol forward Cristiano Da Silva (right) fights for the ball with Thailand's Muangthong United defender Adison Promrak during their AFC Champions League playoff in Kashiwa, Japan, on January 30, 2018. The hosts won 3-0.

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