Popa promises to attack Chinese powerhouse

Western Sydney Wanderers FC coach Tony Popovic insists his side will go looking for goals against powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday night as they dream of an ACL semi-final berth.

The Wanderers head to China with a slender 1-0 lead after last week’s combustible quarter-final first leg in Parramatta.

With up to 60,0000 fans expected to pack the Tianhe Stadium for the second leg, Popovic’s troops face a daunting task to hold off the reigning champions to progress to the last four.

But the Wanderers boss is adamant his side won’t be overawed and declared they won’t park the bus for 90 minutes and try and old onto their slight advantage.

“We have proved in the ACL that we are a very positive team, we have scored in every match we have played and we have come here to score again,” Popovic said.

“Of course, we respect our opponent, they are the best in Asia but we cannot have a mindset to be negative, we have to be positive, we have to have belief and we will do everything we can to try and go to the semi-finals.

“The expectation is on Gaungzhou to go through, everyone expects them to go through but the group of players we have has a real strong belief, great character and they have a lot of good ability as well.

“If we can put that together we have a good chance to do ourselves proud as a club, the A-League proud and Australian football proud of beating such a giant of football in Asia.”

It promises to be a fiery reception for the Wanderers tonight after the controversial end to the first leg.

Guangzhou stars Gao Lin and Zhang Linpeng were sent off and will miss the return, while coach Marcelo Lippi is serving a touchline ban for storming the pitch to confront the referee.

“We can’t control what they do or who they play,” Popovic said of Guangzhou.

“What we do know is they are the champions of Asia and whoever plays will be of high quality. We can only control what we do as a team and our focus is on what we do on the pitch and not on our opponents.

“We showed in the first leg we can compete, now we have to do the job again in front of a big crowd supporting Guangzhou. It will be a challenge but one as a club we are really looking forward to.”

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