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Grant looks to take positives after AFC Champions League defeat to Shanghai SIPG


Doha: Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant admitted he was disappointed to go down 2-1 against Shanghai SIPG as the Australian side resumed their 2020 AFC Champions League campaign on Thursday but remains optimistic ahead of the upcoming matches.

Having not seen any competitive action since winning the A-League Grand Final at the end of August, the New South Wales side got off to the perfect start when Trent Buhagiar opened the scoring inside 10 minutes as they went into the interval a goal to the good.

But Shanghai fought back in the second half as a Li Shenglong brace ultimately secured the Chinese Super League side a 2-1 win, with Grant also having to play in goal for the final few minutes after Thomas Heward-Belle was dismissed for handling outside the box.

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"We're obviously very disappointed with the result," said Grant, scorer of the goal that clinched Sydney the A-League title three months ago.

"In the first half we played really well and created a lot of chances but unfortunately we didn't take them and we got punished in the second half after a few sloppy mistakes led to goals.

"I thought we were great in the first 25 minutes but then were put under a bit of pressure. We had a few more chances in the second half which we could have scored from and that would have changed the game."

Group H - MD1: Sydney FC 1-2 Shanghai SIPG FC

"But it wasn't to be and then when they started to create chances, we made mistakes and they were able to capitalise, which is what good teams are able to do."

The result means Sydney have picked up just one point from their opening three games having previously lost to Yokohama F. Marinos and drawn against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors prior to the tournament's postponement.

Steve Corica's side now have six days to recover and prepare for what is undoubtedly a crucial clash against Jeonbuk on November 25 and one which, should they fail to win, would leave them with a mountain to climb to advance to the knockout rounds.

"There are plenty of positives to take from the game; we know we can play at this level but we've got to make sure we do it for 90 minutes, not just 45 of 60," admitted Grant.

"That's what we'll look to build on going into the next fixture."

Ahead of the next game Sydney already have cause for concern, however. Heward-Belle, who received his marching orders after rushing from his box only to misjudge the flight of the ball and instinctively handle, will be suspended.

And with first-choice 'keeper Andrew Redmayne back in Australia awaiting the birth of his first child, that leaves either 18-year-old Adam Pavlesic or 19-year-old Levi Kaye to fill the role between the posts.

"I put my hand up [to go in goal] because at training I jump in goal every now and then," added Grant on his unlikely end-of-game duties.

"Unfortunately I had to step in there today; it’s not the position I'd like to be in but I was happy to put the gloves on for the team."

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