Sydney FC defender Matt Jurman says Wednesday night’s AFC Champions League game is the biggest in the club’s history and says the Sky Blues can’t afford to sit back if they hope to advance to the quarter finals.
Graham Arnold’s side is in the box seat to progress against Shandong Luneng after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in China last week.
The result means the Hyundai A-League club will advance to the last eight if they can keep a clean sheet against Mano Menezes’ side at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday night.
Even knowing that, Jurman feels it would be a mistake to play for a stalemate, urging the Sky Blues to put the pressure on what should be a travel-weary Shandong side.
“We have to go through and play like last time,” Jurman told reporters on Monday.
“We have to play attacking football and try and get another goal. I don’t like sitting back and trying to defend what we have got.
“If we keep attacking it will put them on the back foot as well.”
“It’s massive to score an away goal,” the defender added. “We wanted to play over there first and come home for the second game.
“It’s set up nicely for us now and hopefully we can finish the job on Wednesday night.”
Sydney has struggled for goals so far in the competition, managing just five in their seven matches so far.
But confidence is surging back through the squad after a disappointing domestic campaign, with the side aiming to create more club history by making the quarters for the first time.
“It’s probably the biggest game in the club’s history to be honest…we’ve never been this far in the ACL,” Jurman said.
“It’s a massive game and hopefully all the fans come out and support us.
“To get us through to the [quarter finals] that can’t be better for the club. It’s huge. Individually we have to be up for this game.
“I don’t think people realise how big this tournament is,” the 26-year-old added.
“It’s the Asian Champions League, it’s the equivalent of the European Champions League so for us it can’t get any bigger than this. We need to get the win and go into the last eight…it would be a massive achievement.”
Asked about what challenge Shandong will present his side, Jurman said: “It’s going to be tough for them with the travel but they are still a quality team and they have some quality players.
“We need to be careful, we need to make sure we defend well and not give them any chances.”
Sydney FC take on Shandong Luneng at the Sydney Football Stadium in the second leg of their AFC Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday 25 May. Click here for tickets.