Wanderers target ACL knock-out berth

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

They sit on top of their group in the Asian Champions League but that means nothing to Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic.


Unless, of course, they win Tuesday’s final pool match against China’s Guizhou Renhe.

The Wanderers need at least a draw at Parramatta Stadium to advance to the knockout stages of their maiden ACL campaign.

It’s a feat many deemed unlikely after the two-year-old A-League club lost their opening clash – but now it seems inevitable.

“Since then we’ve got better and better,” Popovic said on Monday.

“At this stage we sit on top of the table but that’ll mean nothing if we don’t get through tomorrow.

“I don’t want to be sitting here after the game saying `we had a good adventure in the ACL’.

“We want to go through and we’ll do everything we can to achieve that tomorrow night.”

The Wanderers are among three A-League semi-finalists vying for a place in the ACL’s last 16 but only Popovic’s men have the luxury of staying at home this week.

Melbourne Victory are in South Korea to play Jeonbuk Motors, while the Central Coast travel to Japan to face Sanfrecce Hiroshima and will arrive home barely 24-hours before Saturday’s A-League elimination final against Western Sydney.

The Wanderers have also enjoyed the benefit of a clear schedule since last Wednesday’s away win over Ulsan Hyundai.

“Coming back and having a few days to recharge our batteries and go again in this competition, it’s helped,” Popovic said.

“Everyone’s fit and available, which is a good headache for a coach to have.

“But we still … have to recover well for a big semi-final on Saturday.”

Guizhou Renhe, meanwhile, have battled through five games in just 15 days – forcing coach Gong Lei to bring a less experienced side Down Under.

The Chinese outfit are anchored to the bottom of Group H but Gong is backing his young charges to put in a solid performance.

“We have just 14 players here, most of them are young players who don’t have enough professional appearances,” Gong said.

“But we are confident they have the quality (to take) the opportunity to play in the AFC Champions League.

“We will play with 100 per cent energy and we’ll try our best.”

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