Footballer Hulk during his welcoming to Shanghai SIPG (Photo : Twitter)
Chinese team Shanghai SIPG inched closer to the knockout phase of the Asian Championship after taking down Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds 3-2 on Thursday, thanks to Hulk.
Brazilian striker Hulk led the Red Eagles to victory after scoring the tie-braking goal early in the second half, the Miami Herald reported. Hulk has managed to score in Shanghai's all three games.
Defender Shi Ke initiated Shanghai's scoring early while Hulk's fellow Brazilian Elkeson secured a 2-0 lead from long range.
The Reds mounted a comeback via Rafael Silva's penalty shot. However, their efforts were not enough after Hulk sealed the win. Nevertheless, Wataru Endo managed to grab a consolation goal for his team.
Shanghai coach Andres Villas-Boas admitted that Urawa gave them a tough match. "But we took the points and can now look forward to the next game," Villas-Boas said.
The win puts Shanghai as the leader of Group F after three wins. On the other hand, Urawa remains second in the group.
The Reds are still ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers, who became the first Australian team to win a game this season after getting past FC Seoul 3-2.
Hulk's performance during Shanghai's last few games in the Asian Championship is considered by experts as a good sign that he is really fitting in with the team, Fox Sports reported.
According to analyst John Duerden, while Hulk has been a prominent figure in different international circuits, such as Japan Portugal and Russia. However, he has yet to make a considerable presence in the leagues in Spain, England or Germany. As such, there were concerns that Shanghai might have paid a little more than his value when they acquired the Brazilian in 2016.
But Hulk is proving the notion wrong, being instrumental in Shanghai's wins in the tournament. During their opening game against FC Seoul, Hulk adeptly broke through the Koreans' defenses and scored the winning goal. He repeated the feat during Shanghai's match against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The 30-year-old forward has also gained a large amount of following among Shanghai fans.