Sydney FC bullish about Champions League hopes: ‘It is competition that we intend to win’

Newcastle Jets struck a late leveler to hold Sydney FC to a draw.
Adam Le Fondre hit home two goals for Sydney FC on route to a 3-0 win over Melbourne City.

KUALA LUMPUR — Sydney FC are sounding a confident note despite being grouped with the top teams in China and Japan in the 2019 AFC Champions League.

The A-League title-holders were given a tough draw on Thursday evening at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.

If taking on Kawasaki Frontale was not enough, the Sky Blues will have to deal with star-studded Shanghai SIPG in Group H and possibly South Korean opposition.

“We are the Australian champions and we expect to win every game that we play,” said Sydney FC spokesperson David Warriner.

“It’s a challenge that we welcome and enjoy. It is the premier club competition in Asia and a competition we want to be a part of every year. For Sydney FC, it is a key target every year to be a part of this, being the biggest club in the country, we want to be here.

“We will do all our homework obviously and be ready and prepared.

“We are excited. It is fantastic to be part of Asia and the AFC Champions League. We will look forward to it come the New Year.”

Serbia international Milos Ninkovic will be key to Sydney FC’s Champions League hopes.

Despite their dominance at home, Sydney struggled in the 2018 edition of the continental competition, crashing out in the group stage.

There is a determination to improve in 2019, though it remains to be seen if they can match the 2014 exploits of city rivals Western Sydney Wanderers who lifted the trophy — still the only Australian team to do so.

“We are very incentivised to win this competition. It comes from the top of our club,” Warriner said. “It is competition that we intend to win at some stage. We would like that to be very soon.”

Melbourne Victory will take on two-time continental champions Guangzhou Evergrande in Group F but will have to wait until the end of the East Asian season to find out their other two opponents, with Ulsan Horangi of South Korea likely to be one.

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