Sydney FC has been drawn against Chinese Super League powerhouse Shanghai Shenhua FC in the group stage for the 2018 AFC Champions League.
Shenhua, who were coached by former Chelsea star Gus Poyet until September, won the Chinese FA Cup last month and currently boast players such as ex-Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez and former Inter Milan striker Obafemi Martins among their squad.
Tevez reportedly became the highest paid footballer in the world when he signed for the club in December 2016.
The Sky Blues will also face Japan’s third seeded club Kashima Antlers and the winner of Playoff 1 (East) which could be Suwon Samsung Bluewings, the club of former Sydney FC and Socceroos defender Matt Jurman, should they progress against either Eastern SC from Hong Kong or Vietnam’s FLC Thah Hoa.
If they do progress it will be the exact same group the Sky Blues faced in their 2011 campaign.
Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold believes the draw will excite Sky Blues’ Members.
“It’s a great draw for Sydney FC and it’s fantastic to be once again competing against the best of Asian football, which is where this club belongs,” he said.
“Shanghai Shenhua are a massive club and our boys will enjoy testing themselves against a side who can attract the likes of Carlos Tevez and Obafemi Martins to their team.
“It will be great for the fans to welcome Matt Jurman back home if we do end up against Suwon and we look forward to our games against Kashima Antlers.”
It’s Sydney FC’s fourth AFC Champions League campaign and will be the second under Arnold who led the club to their best ever finish in the competition in 2016.
The group stage competition begins in February next year with dates and times of matches set to be decided in the coming days.
AFC Champions League Memberships are now available! Purchase yours before Friday 8 December to guarantee your same seat for our three blockbuster Group Stage clashes as we go on our #QuestToBeTheBest! Click here to secure your seats.