SHANGHAI: Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas accused Guangzhou Evergrande of dirty tricks after his side’s epic AFC Champions League quarter-final win, claiming the hosts masterminded a series of road “accidents” to delay SIPG’s arrival at the stadium.
Evergrande almost pulled off a miracle in overturning a 4-0 first-leg deficit, before SIPG emerged battered and bruised from a remarkable all-Chinese encounter on Tuesday with a penalty shootout triumph after the tie had finished 5-5 on aggregate.
It is the first time that SIPG have reached the last four of Asia’s premier club competition, but former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Villas-Boas was seething afterwards.
The Portuguese lashed out at Iranian referee Alireza Faghani, who sent off two SIPG players in extra time, but reserved his fiercest ire for Evergrande, the two-time Champions League winners.
Video footage posted online, apparently shot from the SIPG team coach on the way to the game, appears to show a succession of five holds-ups on the road involving the same cars in the southern Chinese city.
“We came in the bus for this game. The same two cars suffered three accidents in front of us so this is a problem,” Villas-Boas said after the game, pointing the finger squarely at Evergrande.
“This is the greatest achievement for SIPG ever because it looks like one club is dominating the AFC because this club can do everything. They can block hotels, cause people to have accidents in front of us.”
Evergrande did not immediately comment on Villas-Boas’s claims.
In the footage, the road is blocked on five occasions as two or three silver-coloured cars stop after supposed collisions, though it was not clear if they ever made contact.
Some Guangzhou fans and media countered that SIPG had started the unsavoury gamesmanship during the tie’s first leg.
Following SIPG’s 4-0 rout last month in Shanghai, Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari claimed the air conditioning in the away changing room had been broken, describing it as “like a sauna.”
SIPG reportedly experienced the same at Tianhe Stadium on Tuesday, with the air conditioning not working properly and no hot water.
Villas-Boas, whose side will face either Kawasaki Frontale or Urawa Reds of Japan in the last four, also raged against referee Faghani, who left SIPG with just nine men on the field at the end of 120 minutes.
Faghani also booked SIPG goalkeeper Yan Junling during the penalty shoot-out for unsporting conduct, which will rule him out for the first leg of the semi-final.
“It’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace,” Villas-Boas exclaimed.
Scolari was magnanimous in defeat on Tuesday night, but could not resist hitting back about the air conditioning.
“Should we move the AC in Shanghai Stadium to Guangzhou for them to experience?” he asked. --AFP