Football 2 years ago

Sydney seek another Chinese win

  • Sydney seek another Chinese win

    GUANGZHOU, CHINA - MAY 03: Coach Graham Arnold of Sydney FC looks on during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Guangzhou Evergrande FC and Sydney FC at Tianhe Stadium on May 3, 2016 in Guangzhou, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)

They've emerged alive and well from the Asian Champions League Group of Death, now Sydney FC are training their sights on another Chinese football target.

A 1-0 away loss to defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Tuesday didn't hurt the Sky Blues, as second placed Urawa Red Diamonds were held to a draw in their final group game and finished one point behind Sydney.

The next assignment for Sydney later this month in the round of 16 is another Chinese side, Shandong Luneng, who are struggling in 12th spot in the Chinese competition, with just two wins from seven matches.

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"If you had said to me before we started in this group of death that we would top the group and be ahead of Guangzhou, Urawa Reds and Pohang Steelers I wouldn't have believed it, " Sydney coach Graham Arnold said.

"But we've worked extremely hard, our performances have been excellent in the Champions League.

"Now we get to play another Chinese team in Shandong, which will be a very tough game.

"But we'll be very confident after tonight."

"Playing against the richest club in China the best club in China and performing like that."

"We'll be very confident going into the next game."

Sydney looked the more likely team to score in the second half of Tuesday's game and a more competitive outfit than the one which limped through the second half of the A-league season.

Arnold said the form of his clutch of younger players was giving him a pleasant selection headaches.

"Tonight I thought Aaron Calver was outstanding at centre back, Brandon O Neill, Riley Woodcock did well for his first game in a long while."

"Young George Blackwood, (Chris) Naumoff and Andrew (Hoole), so a lot of youngsters out there.

""When you look at that, then the future is bright for Sydney."

Guangzhou's famed Brazilian World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said Sydney deserved to finish top of the group, but was non-committal about their prospects against Shandong.

"We have to say that Shandong is a little bit different from the style of Guangzhou Evergrande." Scolari said through an interpreter.

"But they are also quite a capable team so it is very difficult to say who will win in the round of 16."

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