They’ve taken a giant step towards the ACL semi-finals but Western Sydney Wanderers FC striker Tomi Juric says his side must be prepared for everything “on-and-off” the pitch when they face a wounded Guangzhou Evergrande in China next Wednesday night.
The Wanderers take a hard-earned 1-0 lead to the 60,000 capacity Tianhe Stadium after a fiery and controversial 90 minutes at Parramatta Stadium last Wednesday night.
Guangzhou were livid with some of the decisions – including red cards to stars Zhang Linpeng and Gao Lin – which led to their manager Marcelo Lippi storming the field to confront the referee in a bizarre end to the game.
The drama has set up a fascinating second leg, with the reigning ACL champions, who are certain to be fired up for revenge in front of what will be a hostile home crowd.
“We’re going to need everyone to be on their game,” Juric said on Friday.
“They are going to throw everything at us on and off the pitch. That’s what we’ve prepared for and we’re definitely looking forward to the challenge.
“They might change a few things having two key players out of the match receiving red cards in the previous game. It’s definitely going to be a little bit different but we’re definitely looking forward it.”
Juric will be a key to the Wanderers’ hopes of progression and the 23-year-old is riding high after being called into Ange Postecoglou’s 20-man Socceroos squad on Thursday.
He said he was proud of earning a call-up for friendlies against Belgium and Saudi Arabia and wants to prove he is worthy of a Green and Gold shirt by performing with the Wanderers.
And after initially claiming he got a touch to Antony Golec’s cross which led to Wednesday night’s winning goal, Juric cleared things up on Friday morning.
“It was definitely Antony’s goal. I was just happy to play a part with the ball rolling into the net,” Juric confirmed.
“But I will definitely go out on Wednesday and do my best for the team again. What’s important is for us is to get through to the semi-final.
“That’s my goal and the team’s goal and we’re going to try and achieve that.”
The Wanderers received some good news on Friday, with talented Nigerian left-back Seyi Adeleke joining the club on a one-season deal from Italian giants Lazio.
“It’s exciting. He’s a young, talented player that we’ve been monitoring,” Wanderers boss Tony Popovic said.
“It will be good to get him here into our environment. He’s had a bit of a tough time of it lately at Lazio but we feel here in the A-League he certainly has the potential to do very well.
“I think we can help improve the player and we believe he can be an asset for our club.”
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