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Corica relishing quality test for Sydney FC youngsters in AFC Champions League clash with Shanghai SIPG

Doha: Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica is looking forward to testing his young players as they resume their 2020 AFC Champions League campaign with a third encounter in 18 months against star-studded Shanghai SIPG.

The reigning A-League champions picked up just one point from their first two games of the competition back in February, having kicked-off with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Yokohama F. Marinos before squandering the lead to draw 2-2 at home to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

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“The weather is fantastic, the hotel is nice and we had a couple of great training sessions,” said Corica who has been at Sydney FC since 2005 as a player then progressing through the ranks as a youth coach before taking over the first team as head coach in 2018.

“The players are looking forward to playing; it will be a difficult match against Shanghai SIPG but it is a good challenge."

“One player is arriving tomorrow, a couple of them are still not here and we have a few injuries, but it gives an opportunity for younger players to show what they can do and it is good preparation for us ahead of the new season. The AFC Champions League is very difficult because you come up against quality teams and foreign players.

“We played them last year and had two draws and were unlucky not to win both games, they have big players and it is a good opportunity for us to play against quality players and a good challenge for my team."

Shanghai SIPG, just like fellow Chinese sides Shanghai Shenhua and Guangzhou Evergrande, will finally be able to contest their first match of the competition having not been able to play in February due to the earlier outbreak of COVID-19 in China PR.

“It is a pleasure to be here and play in the AFC Champions League. This is the first game for us in a strong group,” said Shanghai SIPG boss Vitor Perreira.

“We face the champions of Australia, Sydney FC, as our next opponents. Then we have the champions of Korea Republic, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and previous champions of Japan, Yokohama F. Marinos. That makes it a very strong group.

“The schedule for us is very tight because we did not play yet. We must play every three days, but we will try to be at our best level and try to get the three points; that is the most important thing for tomorrow.

“I know Sydney FC and they play 4-4-2 and have good movements. We played against them last season so both teams know each other. Tough game but we will try to play to get three points."

Poll ends at 16:00 (UTC+8) on November 19.

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