Evergrande v Wanderers | Preview


Western Sydney Wanderers take an important 1-0 advantage into Wednesday night’s AFC Champions League Quarter Final second leg against defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande in what is sure to be a fiery night in China.

After a fiery first leg in Sydney last week – and with social media going into overdrive after the match due to two red cards plus Marcello Lippi’s extraordinary display – there’s sure to be more tension and drama again with a spot in the last four on the line and you can watch it unfold on Fox Sports 3 at 10pm.

If they are to turn it around, the Asian heavyweights will need to do it without two of their star players and with their coach watching from the stands.

Zhang Linpeng and Gao Lin are both suspended after being sent off in the heated dying minutes in Sydney.

Irate at the referee, veteran Italian boss Marcelo Lippi stormed the pitch, with the AFC handing the 66-year-old a provisional one-match ban pending a full investigation.

But even without their coach and two key players, Guangzhou still have plenty of threats with Italian duo Alberto Gilardino and Alessandro Diamanti and Brazilian forward Elkson a high-quality trio – though all were kept ineffectual in the first leg by the Wanderers defence.

While the big-spending Chinese giants have plenty of firepower to call on, the Wanderers will again rely on their well-organised defence and work-rate to get them through.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is almost definitely to be without defender Daniel Mullen, who picked up a hamstring strain in the first leg. Teenager Daniel Alessi is likely to fill that role again after impressing as a substitute last week.

The Red and Black have arrived in Guangzhou to a small number of young fans holding up a banner saying ‘No Diving’.

Hardly an intimidating scenario for the players.

That, however, will come on Wednesday night when a packed house will be fired up to greet their Hyundai A-League opponent.

“We already know that it will be a difficult game,” Wanderers midfielder Iacopo La Rocca said.

“They will have maybe 60,000 fans there. Last year they won the ACL and for sure they want to go to the semi-finals.

“It will be difficult, but we have to be prepared for this type of game.

“The confidence is there, but we haven’t done anything yet if we don’t win on Wednesday. We have to give our best and help each other and try to control the game.”

Watch live on Fox Sports 3 & Fox Sports HD. Kick-off is 10pm AEST Wednesday 27 August.