Analysis: Hulk inspires Shanghai SIPG to epic victory in Jeonju

Published on: 28 June 2019

Jeonju: Shanghai SIPG recorded a memorable come-from-behind victory against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to advance to the quarter-finals of this year’s AFC Champions League.

Despite being away from home and going down early, Shanghai recovered to eventually prevail after a dramatic penalty shootout, and they can be thankful to their star man for the historic win.

Incredible Hulk

Shanghai SIPG’s star Brazilian was a one-man wrecking ball for the visitors. Often isolated at the point of the attack, his close control and touch saw him create goalscoring chances from nothing and were it not for the woodwork he’d have put the match to bed long before a penalty shootout was needed.

As shown in his heat map above, he completed an enormous amount of work in the final third, often when Shanghai were under pressure from the home side.

In total he had seven shots, four of which were off target and three hit the woodwork.

Midfield Space

Despite eventually getting the job done, the visitors were on the backfoot for long spells of the game as the home side dominated possession and territory.

Indeed, it was noticeable how much space was afforded to Jeonbuk, as shows on the average positions below.

The visitors’ defence dropped quite deep, while their midfield and attack stayed high which created a large amount of space in midfield which Jeonbuk took full advantage of.

Often Hulk and Elkeson were isolated up front and relied on long balls from defence, but Shanghai were able to get back into the game when their midfield started pushing up to offer support and providing more avenues to attack.

Right to Attack

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are a side that like to push forward their full-backs – Lee Yong and Kim Jin-su – to join in the attacks and that was certainly the case again on Wednesday, especially on the right with Lee Yong.

The Korea Republic international was busy down the right hand side as 40% of Jeonbuk’s attacks came down that side, a remarkably high number.

With target man Kim Shin-wook up front their game plan was simple – get the ball into areas for Lee Yong to use his crossing ability to get the ball onto the head of the lanky striker.

It worked on numerous occasions as Kim Shin-wook won 14 of the 19 aerial duels he contested, but it was also predictable for the Shanghai defence and only seven of Lee Yong’s 22 crosses were successful, while that number was six of 16 for Kim Jin-su, meaning only a third of the crosses from the full-backs were effective.