AFC Champions League Preview: Wanderers face uphill task
The Western Sydney Wanderers must overturn a two-goal deficit if they are to progress to the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.
Western Sydney return to Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday trailing 3-1 on aggregate after last week's defeat to Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Tony Popovic's men, beaten by Brisbane Roar in the A-League grand final, trailed 2-1 inside the final 12 minutes having netted the all important away goal courtesy of striker Tomi Juric.
But the Wanderers conceded a third goal in the closing stages, leaving them with an uphill battle to advance from their knockout tie against the Japanese outfit.
A 2-0 victory would be good enough for Western Sydney to book their spot in the final eight and Juric said the Australian team are planning to attack from the outset.
''We have to play attacking football next week,'' he said.
''So we're going to go out there and that's exactly what we're going to do. We want to progress to the next round.''
With the A-League season over, the Wanderers will be fresh and will take heart from the fact that they have gone six games without defeat on home soil in all competitions.
During that period, Western Sydney have scored 12 goals, while keeping five clean sheets in the process.
Sanfrecce's away record makes for good reading also, with Hajime Moriyasu's side unbeaten in their past seven games on the road, though they were beaten by the Central Coast Mariners in their most recent trip to Australia in March.
Meanwhile, defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande are practically assured of a quarter-final berth after trouncing Cerezo Osaka in the opening leg in Japan.
Marcello Lippi's Chinese giants routed Cerezo 5-1 away from home and withstanding a remarkable collapse in front of their home fans, they will progress on Tuesday.
In other fixtures, Pohang Steelers are well placed to qualify for the next round ahead of fellow South Korean outfit Jeonbuk Motors on Tuesday.
Pohang, winners in 2009, scored two away goals as they won 2-1 in Jeonju last week.
Al Ain also return home on Tuesday with a 2-1 advantage after getting the better of Al Jazira in their all-United Arab Emirates affair.
Last season's runners-up Seoul have the upper hand against Kawasaki Frontale of Japan, with the K-League giants leading 3-2 on aggregate heading into Wednesday's second leg on home soil.
Elsewhere, Al Ittihad hold a slender 1-0 lead as they make the trip to Al Shabab for the second leg in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Uzbek outfit Bunyodkor have only won one of their past five games away from home in the Champions League and they must better that record if they are to get past Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, who lead 1-0 on aggregate.
Meanwhile, the tie between Iran's Foolad and Al Sadd is evenly poised after last week's goalless draw in Qatar.