After two matches in Group B, it all comes down to this. 90 minutes will decide who progresses through to the final of the AFC Women’s Club Championship.
Sydney FC and Hyundai Steel Red Angels will meet on Sunday evening with a winner takes all match-up with both sides sitting pretty on maximum points from the opening two games.
With their superior goal difference, advantage sits with the Sky Blues who require only a draw or better to progress through to play Urawa Red Diamonds (Group A winners) in the final at a later date. The Koreans require a victory to move onto the showpiece event.
Come Sunday, Sydney FC will have played three matches in the space of seven days, not to mention the 32 hour journey to get there in the first place. Because of this, Ante Juric has been forced to rotate his squad to manage load, with the Head Coach making six changes between the two matches. With this match coming off the back of another tight turnaround, we are likely to see further rotation as the team must play Adelaide United a week later back in Australia.
As for their performances on the pitch, the Sky Blues couldn’t have done better. Coming up against Bam Khatoon in the opening match of the tournament they flexed their muscles and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Last Thursday against the hosts they were forced to work a little harder but could’ve had more than the two goals in their 2-1 win, with the Uzbeks scoring a stunning long range consolation goal and the Sky Blues wasting a lot of quality chances.
Fiona Worts has been strutting her stuff this tournament and currently leads the golden boot race with four goals in two matches. The 27-year-old has had an impressive start to life at Sydney FC, scoring five goals in her opening three matches, scoring each time she crosses the white lines.
Hyundai Steel Red Angels play their football in the Korean Women’s Football League and have been the dominant force in the country, winning each of the last ten titles in the WK League. They are the bench mark and one of the four sides who helped launch the league in 2009. Since then, the league has doubled in size but the Steel Red are still above and beyond the best.
They have a number of impressive players in their ranks with seven pulling on the red of the Korean National Team at the most recent FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The Korean captain Kim Hye-ri plays at the back for Hyundai Steel Red and was rested against Bam Khatoon with an eye on this match against Sydney FC.
Last time out against Bam Khatoon two second half goals were enough for the Koreans to oversee the Iranians but they were made to work for it with Namjung Yeji scoring from the spot off the bench and Jang Chang scoring from range following a defensive mix up.
Chang’s second half strike is the only goal that they have scored that isn’t from the spot or an own goal having slotted a penalty in each match so far. In the match against Bam Khatoon, they only created four shots on target compared to the eight that Sydney created against FC Nasaf.
This promises to be a pearler of a back and forth affair as both teams go for broke with first place on the line in Tashkent. Strap in as this could be exciting with the best teams in the group going head to head.
Catch all the action live on Uzbekistan Football Association YouTube Channel from 8:55pm AEDT on Sunday night.
Sydney FC v Hyundai Steel Red Angels Women’s FC
AFC Women’s Club Championship
Sunday 12th November 2023
Jar Stadium, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Kick Off: 9:00pm AEDT (3:00pm Local)
Broadcast Live: Click Here