Sydney FC on the front foot in Asia

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Sydney FC goal scoring hero David Carney says the Sky Blues are in prime position to make the Quarter Finals of the Asian Champions League after coming home from China with a 1-1 draw against Shandong Luneng midweek.

After suffering an early onslaught by the Chinese Super League side, the Sky Blues fought back to take a first half lead after a great cross by Riley Woodcock found the head of David Carney.

The home side equalised early in the second half through Brazilian import Diego Tardelli but Sydney FC held on.

With the tie placed at 1-1, Sydney FC only need a scoreless result at home but Carney was adamant the Sky Blues will approach the contest with victory on the team’s mind.

 “I’d say we’re definitely in the driving seat with the away goal,” he said.

“But by no means is it over and it is only really half time. We have to go out there and try and win.  Obviously we can’t go and get a 0-0 draw. That shouldn’t happen. Our mindset is to go and try and win the game. It was a great effort last night. They had their chances as well but I think we probably deserved the result as well.”

Throughout the game the Sky Blues attacked down the opposition flanks and Carney says that focusing their play out wide was an important factor in the result.

“Riley Woodcock kept getting forward all the time and getting the ball,” he said. "It’s a big factor in what Graham Arnold spoke to us about before the match - to stay inside and it give a lot of room on the outside. It was one of the things highlighted to exploit. And it came off so hopefully we can do that again in the second game."

Sydney FC withstood some early heavy pressure but Shandong could not convert their early opportunities.

Sky Blues defender Rhyan Grant blocked a goal bound effort in the first minute and soon after Sydney FC conceded a penalty after Vedran Janjetovic was responsible for a negligent foul in the box. 

However, Janjetovic atoned for his error and made his second save in the ACL by diving to his right which gave the impetus to the Sky Blues to take the lead soon after.

The Sydney FC shot stopper is not normally renowned for his penalty saves but he says the difference in this game was that he studied the opposition prior to the match

“I did my homework on him (Walter Montillo) especially when he took the penalty and he favours that left side,” he said.

“I tried to put him off a little bit as well and play with his mind and not make it so easy from him. So it came off for the best and I will take them anyway I can. 

“It’s one of those things that on the night you don’t know what’s going to happen. You play your cards right and you stick to what you know and come away with the result going your way.”

  • Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.