Western Sydney Wanderers FC have great memories of facing Guangzhou Evergrande, beating the Chinese champions on the way to winning last year’s ACL. If this clash is as fiery and dramatic as last season’s encounters then a scintillating encounter is in store at Parramatta Stadium. Will the Wanderers continue their love-affair with the ACL or will Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou get some revenge.
Wednesday, 4 March 2015
Parramatta Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local), 7.30pm (AEDST)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC A. Covic, D. Bouzanis, S. Cole, N. Topor-Stanley, B. Hamill, A. Golec, M. Spiranovic, D. Alessi, S. Gallaway, Y. Tanaka, I. La Rocca, L. Haliti, Y. Perkatis, R. Castelen, J. Trifiro, A. Fofanah, K. Baccus, N. Kalmar, J. Sotirio, Y. Takahagi, T. Juric, M. Bridge, K. Bulut, N. Rukavytsya, S. Kuzmanovski, T. Heward-Belle, L. Youlley, J. Aspropotamitis, S. D’Cunha
Guangzhou Evergrande Zeng Cheng, Feng Xiatong, Li Xuepeng, Young-Gwon Kim, Mei Fang, Zheng Zhi, Huang Bowen, Yu Hanchao, Elkeson, Alan, Ricardo Goulart, Zou Zheng, Zheng Long, Zhang Jiaqi, Liao Lisheng, Rong Hao, Li Shuai, Zhao Xuri, Dong Chunyu, Zhang Linpeng, Yang Xin, Liu Jian, Gao Lin, Dong Xuesheng, Tan Jiajun, Wang Shangyuan, Ju Feng
Hashtag: #WSWvGZE, #ACL2015
TV Broadcast – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 730pm (AEDT)
The Wanderers and Guangzhou resume hostilities after a tense meeting last year and expect something similar at Wanderland on Wednesday night. Having made an impressive start on the road last week, the Wanderers will take a giant step towards progression to the knockout rounds – even at this early stage – with a win here.
But it won’t be easy against a Guangzhou squad blessed with a talented mix of Chinese internationals and with Italian World Cup winning skipper Fabio Cannavaro at the helm. Unlike last season though Guangzhou no longer have their Italian imports Alessandro Diamanti and Alberto Gilardino to torment the Wanderers, swapping the duo for Brazilian pair Alan and Ricardo Goulart.
These two sides have won the last two ACL titles, with Guangzhou claiming the crown in 2013 before Western Sydney’s incredible march to the championship in November last year.
ROUTE TO GOAL
It will be interesting to see what Popovic does in attack given Kerem Bulut’s form against Sydney FC but Tomi Juric should get the nod. Guangzhou will rely on skipper Zheng Zhi to drive them forward from midfield while imports Elkeson, Coulart and Alan must be stopped if the Wanderers are a chance of victory.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Kerem Bulut. The young striker is back in Australia with a point to prove, just the sort of player Popovic loves to work with. He made the perfect start to his Wanderers career in Saturday night’s derby, scoring twice in an exceptional debut. He’s certainly made a good first impression and that will only get stronger if he can have a similar impact against the Chinese champions.