AFC Champions League Review: Hulk stars in Guangzhou thrashing, Persepolis fight back against Al-Ahli
Shanghai SIPG hammered Chinese Super League rivals Guangzhou Evergrande 4-0 in the first leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-finals, while Persepolis came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Al-Ahli.
Hulk starred with a goal and two assists in Shanghai's rout of Guangzhou, who struggled without their star man Paulinho following the midfielder's €40million sale to Barcelona last week.
After dominating the opening stages of Tuesday's encounter, Shanghai made the breakthrough when they were awarded a penalty after 36 minutes, Zhang Linpeng having brought down striker Wu Lei in the box.
Hulk stepped up and hammered home a low strike to give the hosts the lead and score in his seventh successive AFC Champions League appearance for SIPG.
Shanghai extended their lead moments before half-time and Hulk was again involved, captain Wang Shenchao nodding in at the back post from a superb right-wing cross delivered by the Brazilian.
A third goal duly arrived after 62 minutes as Shanghai showed their dominance, Wu running on to a cute back-heeled pass from substitute Elkeson to hit a whipped 20-yard shot out of goalkeeper Zeng Cheng's reach.
Shanghai's rout was completed just two minutes later, Hulk bursting clear after a Guangzhou corner was cleared to tee up Wu for a straightforward finish.
In the other quarter-final in Oman, visitors Al-Ahli took the lead in the second minute, Omar Al Soma volleying in the rebound after Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand could only parry Saleh Al-Jamaan's 20-yard strike.
Al-Ahli doubled their advantage 13 minutes into the second half, Leonardo da Silva racing on to a delicious Saleh Al-Jamaan throughball to finish well from close range.
But two goals in the last 18 minutes saw the hosts draw level, with Shoja Khalilzadeh scoring before Godwin Mensha lashed home from the edge of the box to leave the tie poised ahead of next month's second legs.