Sydney FC not put off by cashed-up Guangzhou

Sydney FC refuse to be intimidated by Guangzhou Evergrande's exorbitant spending, vowing to take their aggressive Australian mentality to the Chinese giants in Wednesday night's AFC Asian Champions League blockbuster at Allianz Stadium.

Sydney FC

Source: Getty Images

Evergrande grabbed headlines around the world in January with their $65 million acquisition of Colombia striker Jackson Martinez, and have been gratuitously parading their wealth since arriving on Sunday in Australia.



Advertisement


And their contrasting modes of travel told Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold all he needed to know about the kind of test they face against cashed-up reigning ACL champions.

"They flew in on two private jets - we flew into Tokyo in economy class.

"That's the difference in the size of the clubs," Arnold said.

But Arnold is adamant the Chinese giants' exorbitant spending only puts the visitors under extra pressure to perform against a physical Australian side up for anything that comes at them.

With a squad worth in excess of $A100 million, and that's just for three of their foreigners, Evergrande are the ultimate encapsulation of China's football awakening.

Coached by Brazil World Cup-winning manager Luis Felipe Scolari, the expensively assembled cohort also includes Brazilian internationals Paulinho and Ricardo Goulart.

Sydney are in a starkly different boat.

Arnold's squad is worth a total $4 million if you include marquees Alex Brosque and Filip Holosko outside the A-League's $2.6 million salary cap, but neither will play any part on Wednesday.

They're also weary from last week's less-opulent trip to Japan, where they were soundly beaten 2-0 by Urawa Red Diamonds in their ACL opener before backing up in a 1-1 A-League draw with Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

But Arnold is confident he knows how to nullify Guangzhou, having watched South Korean side Pohang Steelers hold them to a 0-0 draw in their opening group-stage clash last week.

"We're not intimidated," he said.

"We've got to show the Australian mentality, and that is to be aggressive, fight for 90 minutes and try and put them off their game.

"They've got three quality foreigners, but we need to control them.

"If we can do that at home with a good Sydney FC crowd behind us then everything's possible."

Arnold denied being concerned that Australian clubs could eventually be outpriced in the ACL, saying it was simply "the nature of the beast".

Defender Rhyan Grant conceded he and his teammates "like to compare" the financial discrepancy, but said it mattered little once out on the field.

Meanwhile, Scolari was far less willing to address the monetary elephant in the room.

"If there is some difference between the two teams, it's only after you finish playing the match and see the result, that you will know the difference," Scolari said.

Along with Brosque (hamstring), striker Matt Simon (internal bleeding) will not play on Wednesday, leaving Shane Smeltz the likely option to spearhead Sydney's attack.


Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 1 March 2016 at 7:30pm