Football 2 years ago

Grant googles Tardelli before ACL rematch

  • Grant googles Tardelli before ACL rematch

    GUANGZHOU, CHINA - MAY 03: Gao Lin of Guangzhou Evergrande competes the ball against Rhyan Bert Grant of Sydney FC 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)

When Rhyan Grant bore the brunt of the "Tardelli Special" in the Asian Champions League this week, the Sydney FC defender didn't even really know who he was dealing with.

Coach Graham Arnold, who coined the term, had warned his team of what to expect from Shandong Luneng's Brazilian import Diego Tardelli in Wednesday's first round-of-16 clash in China.

But it was only after the 14-time international forward had run the hardworking Grant ragged - and escaped him in a set piece to stab home the 1-1 equaliser - that the 25-year-old full-back decided to punch his opponent's name into Google.

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"Arnie said he was a great player, but I didn't realise the calibre of him until after the game when I looked up his Wikipedia," Grant told AAP.

"As in, he'd played for Brazil a number of times and what not.

"He definitely showed me a few tricks the other night and got the better of me, so I'll be on my toes this week.

"It's always fun coming up against good players to test yourself, and hopefully I can do a little bit better next week."

While Grant is ready for a rematch in Wednesday night's home leg at Allianz Stadium, Arnold is rather more hoping Tardelli's hamstring issues will cut him out of the equation.

Regardless, Sydney will still have to contend with Shandong's other foreign stars in fellow Brazilian, defender Gil, and Argentine playmaker Walter Montillo, not to mention a chunk of Chinese talent.

The on-paper quality of Mano Menezes' outfit strangely doesn't marry up to their third-last place in the Chinese Super League.

"They're obviously not doing great in the league," Grant said.

"But we saw a glimpse the other night of what they - especially their foreigners - can do, so we'll have to keep a close eye on them."

Conversely, the confident Sky Blues have an away goal that could ultimately be their ticket to the club's maiden quarter-finals appearance.

Further in their favour is that Grant believes the squad are battle-hardened after topping the tournament's toughest group, from which defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande were shockingly bundled out.

"We did the hard yards in the group of death to get through, and no one expected that.

"Now we're in the driver's seat, so it's up to us on Wednesday.

"To get through would be massive. We're definitely ready, hopefully we can prove that."

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