A ‘huge challenge’, but Wanderers seeking Asian Champions glory

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Ready for the challenge: The Wanderers are poised to make history this Wednesday night at Parramatta Stadium.
Ready for the challenge: The Wanderers are poised to make history this Wednesday night at Parramatta Stadium.

Western Sydney Wanderers take on Guangzhou Evergrande this Wednesday night at Parramatta Stadium in a quarter final first leg of the AFC Champions League.

Arguably the biggest match in the club’s short history, the Wanderers take on not only the reigning champions of the ACL but a club whose stocks have risen significantly over recent years.

Since the arrival of Italian World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi in May 2012 Evergrande have been almost unstoppable in their domestic competition where they currently sit at the top of the Chinese Super League ladder.

Evergrande boast a roster that includes a host of stars including captain Zheng Zhi, Italians Alessandro Diamanti and Alberto Gilardino and Brazilian forward Elkeson.

With the Wanderers squad set to introduce new Brazilian signing Vitor Saba to the mix and see Mateo Poljak take his place in the midfield after missing out on the group stages, Wanderers Head Coach Tony Popovic knows the task ahead will be a challenging one.

“They have got the resources, they have got the players, they have got the coach and they want to be the best and they proved that last year. It will be a huge challenge coming off a pre-season and playing against such a heavyweight,” said Popovic.

“On the other hand, that’s something you expect when you’re among the best eight teams in Asia; that you’re going to have to play a great side to get through. It’s a huge challenge but one we are really looking forward to. The club is embracing it and I think our fans will embrace it as well.

“We showed against the Japanese champions that we can handle pressure against a top opponent and this is another one. We expected it to be tough regardless of whom we got. We have got the very best and we want to see how we match up against them.”

The match against Asian Champions, Guangzhou Evergrande will see the first leg played at Parramatta Stadium this Wednesday, August 20, followed by the away leg in China seven days later on August 27.

Guangzhou Evergrande arrive in Sydney tonight ahead of the match on Wednesday night at Parramatta Stadium kicking off at 7.30pm.

Tickets to the match are selling fast. To purchase visit Ticketmaster.


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