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▶ Shanghai SIPG's Hulk responds in style [2019/06/27   ]

Hulk was in inspirational form as SIPG prevailed against Jeonbuk, picking up the Most Valuable Player award as Vitor Pereira’s side eventually progressed to the last eight via a penalty shootout.

And while his compatriot Oscar scored the winning spot-kick following the 2-2 aggregate draw between the sides, it was Hulk who regularly rampaged through the K League team and who could have sealed Shanghai’s progress both in regular and extra-time.

Ten minutes from time Hulk scored the goal that cancelled out Kim Shin-wook’s opener having earlier hit the woodwork twice, and he was to shudder the frame of the goal with seconds remaining of extra-time as he put on yet another muscular display in the AFC Champions League.

It was a showing motivated not only by his desire to lead his club into the quarter-finals for the third time in four appearances, or even to avenge the loss in the last eight to Jeonbuk in 2016. The former Porto forward was also provoked by a post on Instagram.

“I think it’s beautiful to play football and sometimes things don't go as you expect, like what happened in 2016,” said Hulk, referencing the painful 5-0 defeat inflicted by Jeonbuk on SIPG in the second leg of their quarter-final meeting that year.

“But sometimes football brings victories for you too. Today we played against a strong team and the pressure was great but finally we won and we qualified."

“Yesterday on Instagram I saw a picture posted by Jeonbuk officially and on that picture was a Hulk that was small and I thought it was funny and it was motivation for me today.

“Before the match we felt we had the chance to qualify and we were confident, as our coach told us. We tried our best today.”

The photograph depicted Hulk as a diminutive figure in the shadow of a muscular green giant meant to represent Jeonbuk, but the Chinese Super League side’s striker had the last laugh as Shanghai advanced to the next round.

Hulk was involved in motivating his teammates as the players prepared for the shootout, which SIPG won after Lee Dong-gook saw his attempt saved by Yan Junling before Oscar stepped up to slot home the winner.

“I just tried to pass confidence to my teammates, to let everyone know they should try their best to get through, to be confident and be focused on the penalties and be focused until the end,” he said of his talk to his teammates. “Every player tried their best and we qualified.”

The win means SIPG are still fighting on all fronts both domestically and at the Continental level, with Periera’s team in second in the Chinese Super League standings and also still very much in the fray in the Chinese FA Cup.

And Hulk is confident he and his teammates can continue to challenge on all fronts, with the AFC Champions League trophy squarely in their sights.

“Last night our head coach told us that two strong teams would be playing today and in the knockout phase every game is like a final,” he said. “We had a 1-1 draw in the first game and we knew it would not be easy in the second match.

“We were 1-0 down today, but the whole the team tried to work together until the end and did their best to win the game. We are now going to enjoy our qualification and prepare for our next game in the Chinese Super League and we will try to win that game too.

“But our goal is not only to win the Chinese Super League title, but also the AFC Champions League title too."

- The origianl text resource is from Yahoo Sports

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