Shanghai (AFP) – Shanghai SIPG need to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the Chinese FA Cup final second leg on Sunday, in what could be coach Andre Villas-Boas’ last game in charge.
The former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager has refused to say if he will continue at big-spending SIPG next season and said after last weekend’s first-leg defeat at rivals Shanghai Shenhua that he would make an announcement after the FA Cup final.
Some Chinese media say that the 40-year-old Portuguese, who took over a year ago, must win a trophy this season or face the sack.
With the Chinese Super League (CSL) season over, the FA Cup is his last remaining chance of silverware, but Villas-Boas told reporters following Sunday’s narrow away-leg defeat: “My decision has already been taken regarding next season.
“You will know it at the end of the season, but it’s already taken and it’s not dependent on the result of the cup.”
An SIPG side boasting 60-million-euro attacking midfielder Oscar and fellow Brazilian Hulk saw plenty of the ball at Shenhua, particularly in the second half, but created few clear-cut chances.
Obafemi Martins, the veteran striker from Nigeria, scored the only goal, poking in from close range in the first half.
Under Villas-Boas, SIPG finished second in the CSL behind Guangzhou Evergrande and went out in the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League.
But SIPG have a formidable record at their Shanghai Stadium, losing just twice there under Villas-Boas in all competitions and scoring freely.
They smashed Shenhua 6-1 in the CSL in September and Villas-Boas said ahead of Sunday’s derby clash: “It’s only half-time, we have another game in front of us.
“With the amount of goals we score at home, particularly against Shenhua, we have a good chance of getting the result.”