Red & Black Football

ACL Preview: Shanghai SIPG V Wanderers

Tony Popovic must find a way to motivate his side if we have any chance of taking points from cashed up Shanghai SIPG, tonight 10.30pm AEDT. After an extremely disappointing opening game in the ACL campaign last week at home to Urawa Red Diamonds, the Wanderers will be hopeful of at least a draw.

However, having travelled straight to China from Perth where they went down 2-0, many will be questioning whether fatigue from playing 3 games in 7 days and the constant and long travel will have an effect on the physical capabilities of the playing squad.

Image credit: Mark Evans, Daily Telegraph

Speaking of the playing squad, Popa made 7 changes before the Urawa game including debuting Majok and recalling Cole onto the pitch for the first time this season. And then making 8 changes before the Perth Glory game, most notably leaving Nico out of the side. The results from the two matches clearly show that we are lacking the depth required to compete, and compete well, in the two competitions.

We have won 3 games out of the last 13 in all competitions, coming into a game featuring a Brazilian trio of Elkeson, Hulk and Oscar, and coached by Andre Villas-Boas. The team will need to be fully switched on and fighting fit to stand a chance. Our backline will have their work cut out for them.

Image Credit: Getty Images

However, despite having immense attacking power, the other 8 players are all Chinese, our attack will have a slightly easier time than our defence. Shanghai defender, Guan He is suspended after receiving a red card in the win over Seoul FC.

“We lost our first [Group F] game and Shanghai won, so we need a good result.” Said Martinez, who was rested from play on Saturday night.

“If we can’t win, at least a point away is a good result.”

Image Credit: Getty Images

Our key to attack will be through our superstars in Martinez and Nichols who has looked a lot more comfortable getting involved in play the past few weeks, and of course a little bit of Christmas magic through Santa might just be enough to get us a crucial goal. And no doubt Janjetovic will be fired up looking for our first clean sheet of the ACL campaign.

Our prediction: 1-0 win to the Wanderers with a goal by Santalab, and 10+ saves from Janjetovic.

Match details: ACL Group F match day 2 – Shanghai SIPG v WSW, Shanghai Stadium, Tuesday 28 February, 10:30pm AEDT.

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