Thrust into the AFC Champions League as a central figure in the Sky Blues midfield, Brandon O’Neill is relishing his rise from the unknown with the Sky Blues.
Fast eclipsing his number of appearances made at Perth Glory in three years, O’Neill has stamped his authority in the current Sydney FC side, and as the Sky Blues prepare for their first ever round of 16 tie O’Neill is supremely confident of returning to Sydney with a scalp against Shandong.
“I’ve come in to the unknown, not really knowing what Champions League football is about but I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” O’Neill said.
“It’s just been really good to broaden your horizon playing in Asia and against some top quality opposition so I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it.
“It’s good to get here [China], we had a little hit out earlier [on Sunday] just to get the legs moving and all the boys can’t wait to get out there Wednesday night,” he continued.
“[We’re] very confident, we’ve probably had our best performances in the Champions League.
“We’ve played in China once against a very good team in Guangzhou and we’re here to do the same against another very good team in Shandong Luneng and I think all the boys are very confident that we can get the job done.”
On the Sky Blues opposition on Wednesday night, O’Neill said the Sky Blues will have to be wary of Shandong’s foreign contingent including Brazilian Diego Tardelli, however the Perth born midfielder has faith in the Sky Blues structures to get the job done.
“They’ll be very well organised and very direct,” O’Neill said.
“They’ve got some very good foreigners and very good Chinese players so we’ll have to be wary of them but you can only focus on the opposition so much going in to these knockout competitions.
“I think if we play to our own team structures and knock the ball around like we have been doing and finishing the chances that we have been creating then we’re very confident we can come away with the win.”
Sydney FC take on Shandong Luneng at Jinan Olympic Sports Centre in the first leg of their AFC Champions League round of 16 tie. Catch the match live on Fox Sports 2 or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.
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