South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai fought back to beat two-times champions Urawa Red Diamonds 2-1 in the first leg of their Asian Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday as Shanghai SIPG and Jeonbuk Motors drew 1-1 in Shanghai. Jeonbuk, looking to win the title for the third time, took the lead after less than a minute away to the Chinese Super League champions through Moon Seon-min, whose lofted effort just crossed the goal-line.
But SIPG bounced back six minutes before the break when Wang Shenchao headed the equaliser following an error by Bernie Ibini-Isei and Jeonbuk were unable to restore their advantage despite creating a string of chances with the second leg to come next week in South Korea. "With one mistake we conceded the goal and it was an intense game," said Jeonbuk coach Jose Morais.
"I would say that we didn't reach what we really wanted, but that's far from a negative perspective. We scored one goal away in a stadium with a big crowd of supporters and against a good team." Japan's Urawa took the lead in front of their own fans at Saitama Stadium eight minutes before halftime against Ulsan when Kenyu Sugimoto's deft header gave goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon no chance.
However, Joo Min-kyu levelled five minutes later with another header and Ulsan sealed the win 10 minutes from fulltime when Hwang Il-soo's shot from distance beat Urawa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa via the inside of his right post. The teams meet again in the second leg next week, with the draw for the quarter-finals due to be made in Kuala Lumpur on July 2.
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