Hong Kong: Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG and Felix Magath’s Shandong Luneng face a fight to reach the AFC Champions League semi-finals this week, while Al Nasr’s bid has been rocked over a striker’s false passport.
SIPG head to 2006 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors after a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their quarter-final, while Shandong are up against it as they trail FC Seoul 3-1 on aggregate.
The UAE’s Al Nasr beat El Jaish 3-0 but they have forfeited the game by the same scoreline because Brazilian-born striker Wanderley was playing under a false Indonesian passport, making him ineligible.
“The Asian Football Confederation disciplinary committee has ordered the AFC Champions League quarter-final first-leg match El Jaish vs Al Nasr... forfeited,” said an AFC statement yesterday. “The committee held, on the basis of information received from various state authorities and after analysing the case file, that the Indonesian passport submitted to register Wanderley was false.”
Wanderley, 27, joined Al Nasr in July and scored the opener in last month’s win over El Jaish, but he was suspended after doubts emerged over his nationality.
Teams are allowed to field three foreigners in the Champions League, plus one more if the player has Asian nationality.
The controversy puts Qatar’s El Jaish in the box seat in tomorrow’s return leg, with a semi-final awaiting against either UAE’s Al Ain or Uzbek side Lokomotiv.
In the East Asian quarter-finals, SIPG and Shandong will bid to keep the title in Chinese hands after holders Guangzhou Evergrande were knocked out at the group stage. Eriksson’s SIPG face a test in Jeonju today but they were buoyed by the return from injury of their record Brazilian signing Hulk, who netted two in Friday’s 2-2 domestic draw with Beijing Guoan.
Shandong, 3-1 down against free-scoring FC Seoul, have also been plunged into controversy after midfielder Jin Jingdao was suspended for failing a drugs test.
Jin, 24, tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol before the first leg and is suspended for a provisional period of 60 days, the AFC said.
Shandong’s Magath will now be wanting a star turn from big-money Italian signing Graziano Pelle, whose move from Southampton reportedly made him one of the world’s best-paid players.