Preview: Sydney FC v Shanghai Shenhua
Nicky Carle and Bruno Cazarine will need to be at their best in attack if the Sky Blues are to break down the Shanghai defence.
Date: Wednesday April 6 Kick-off: 8:00pm AET Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports
Head-to-head These two sides met in the group stage in 2007 with Sydney taking the honours. The Sky Blues won in China thanks to goals from Steve Corica and Ufuk Talay while the return match at the SFS finished all square.
The Road to the ACL Sydney FC: 2010 A-League champions Shanghai Shenhua: Third place 2010 Chinese Super League
Past five matches: Sydney FC: Sydney FC 0-0 Suwon Bluewings Melbourne Heart 2-2 Sydney FC Sydney FC 2-0 Wellington Phoenix Newcastle 1-1 Sydney FC Perth Glory 0-2 Sydney FC
Shanghai Shenhua: Shanghai Shenhua 3-3 Qingdao Jonoon Suwon Bluewings 4-0 Shanghai Shenhua Shanghai Shenhua 0-0 Kashima Antlers Shandong Luneng 5-2 Shanghai Shenhua Shanghai Shenhua 0-0 Qingdao Jonoon
Selection The only player unavailable for Sydney is skipper Terry McFlynn after his silly red card for a stomp in the opening game against Suwon. The Irishman will definitely miss this match and the club are still waiting to hear from the AFC if the ban will be increased. McFlynn's suspension could see defender Sebastian Ryall moved into a defensive midfield role alongside Stuart Musialik. New signings David Williams and Andrew Durante should again start for the Sky Blues and with a full month of training under their belts will no doubt be more accustomed to their new team-mates. Nicky Carle and Bruno Cazarine will need to be at their best in attack if the Sky Blues are to break down the Shanghai defence.
It's been a tough start to the ACL for Shanghai meaning it wouldn't be a surprise if they made a few changes to their side for this match. The club's imports are the key for them with Luis Salmeron and Duvier Riascos always threatening and both were on the scoresheet in the club's domestic season opener on the weekend.
Analysis Sydney ended a difficult A-League season in strong form with an eight-game unbeaten run and carried that on into matchday one of the ACL with a fighting 0-0 draw with Suwon despite playing most of the match with 10-men. But the one concern for the Sky Blues would be they haven't played a competitive match in over a month. While Vitezslav Lavicka has worked his side hard at training as well as giving them a number of friendly matches with NSW Super League clubs, nothing beats competitive football. Just what affect this has on the home side remains to be seen.
Shanghai themselves haven't had a lot of meaningful action over the same period with their domestic season only getting underway last week. But they did manage to get their game in against Suwon on matchday two meaning they should be a little more match hardened for this one.
This looms as a vital match for both side's hopes of reaching the knockout stages. With both club's one point, three behind group leaders Suwon, the winner of this tussle will give themselves a huge leg-up to grab that second spot. This is the first of two home matches in a week for the Sky Blues with the players publicly declaring they need to win both to give themselves any hope of a berth in the last 16.
The good news for Sydney is that Shanghai have a poor away record in the AFC Champions League, with only three wins from 14 matches, including nine defeats. With that in mind and expect the home side to have a go at the visitors from the start and with the likes of Nicky Carle, David Williams and Bruno Cazarine up front, they should have enough firepower to get the three points.
SQUADS Sydney FC Liam Reddy, Sebastian Ryall, Stephan Keller, Hirofumi Moriyasu, Brendan Gan, Stuart Musialik, Bruno Cazarine, Nicky Carle, David Williams, Shannon Cole, Terry McFlynn, Kofi Danning, Mark Bridge, Ivan Necevski, Scott Jamieson, Matthew Jurman, Dimitri Petratos, Joel Chianese, Jared Lum, Blake Powell, Nathan Sherlock, Rhyan Grant, Dylan Mitchell, Luke Austin, Andrew Durante.
Shanghai Shenhua Dong Lei, Xiong Fei, Xin Feng, Wang Lin, Dai Lin, Yu Tao, Feng Renliang, Duvier Riascos, Luis Salmeron, Jiang Kun, Song Boxuan, Wen Huyi, Fan Lingjiang, Jiang Jiajun, Dong Xuesheng, Wu Xi, Facundo Perez Castro, Qiu Shengjiong, Wang Dalei, Wang Yang, Wang Guanyi, Cao Yunding, Qiu Tianyi, Tao Jin, Abdulkader Deka, Liu Jiashen, Zheng Wei.