As the Sky Blues embark on their third AFC Champions League campaign, Sydney FC striker Shane Smeltz believes the Sky Blues are at home playing continental football and taking on the best in Asia.
Having viewed footage of Urawa in action with the Sydney FC coaching staff, Smeltz is hopeful that their gameplan will pay dividends in Wednesday night’s clash at Saitama Stadium (kick off 9:30pm AEDT).
“I think it’s been five years since the last time we played in the ACL,” Smeltz said.
“It’s where Sydney FC want to be, we want to be playing in this competition, it’s a prestigious competition throughout Asia and we certainly want to start off doing well.
“Obviously it’s a massive clash on Wednesday night and if we can pick up some points there that would be a great start.
“We had a look at them yesterday, we knew even before looking at the video that they’re a very good team.
“We expect a very good team technically, they’re always well organised and from what we understand they play a different style and system to what we’re used to.
“We’ve looked at that and come up with a gameplan through Arnie and the coaching staff and we’ll keep discussing that today and leading into the game and hopefully it leads us in good stead.”
Transitioning from the stifling summer of Sydney to the frigid winter of Japan has aided the players according to Smeltz, as he said it was refreshing to play in a different climate compared to the Hyundai A-League.
“I’m feeling pretty good, obviously it was a long trip over straight after the game, but the weather conditions are nice and fresh and I think the boys feel fresh as well,” Smeltz said.
“I think it’s quite refreshing coming this way with the cooler conditions. Australia is pretty hot at the moment so it’s nice to get out of Sydney and get into this climate.
“I think the boys were feeling upbeat and fresh yesterday wearing the gloves and the beanies and the boys are all looking forward to it.”
Sydney FC take on Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium on Wednesday night (kick off 9:30pm AEDT). Catch the match live on Fox Sports 4 or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for match updates.
Sydney FC’s 2016 AFC Champions League campaign proudly supported by StarTrack and UNSW
Sydney FC welcome Guangzhou Evergrande to Sydney Football Stadium for their first home AFC Champions League match of the group stage on Wednesday 2 March (kick off 8pm AEDT). Get your AFC Champions League Membership today and see the Sky Blues take on the best in Asia at home!