With the Western City Wanderers already eliminated from the running in the AFC Champions League, there is nothing but pride to play for when they host Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday.
The Australian outfit have endured a poor 2017 campaign, winning just one of their five matches to date, failing to live up to their 2015-2016 form in the A-League where they finished runners-up.
The Wanderers are coming off a demoralising 6-1 defeat at the hands of Group F leaders Urawa Red Diamonds on Matchday 5 and have not won a football match since defeating the Newcastle Jets in their A-League fixture in early April.
Nonetheless, Wednesday night will be a special night for one player, as Shannon Cole bids his farewell to the club in his final match. Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has also given the defender the captain’s armband in his honour.
“I’m very grateful for that honour and I’m looking forward to enjoying it with the boys,” Cole told the club’s website.
“It’s been a very special ride for me from day one, to build the Club from nothing and to experience some highs. It can’t last forever. “I’m excited about a new challenge and it’s a good time for us to part ways and tomorrow night is a great opportunity to end that portion of the journey on a positive note.”
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) May 9, 2017
Meanwhile, Shanghai boss Andre Villas-Boas has made the bold decision to travel to Sydney without superstars Hulk and Oscar. The dynamic Brazilian duo have been the trump cards for the Chinese outfit, netting six goals between them so far and creating havoc in the oppositions’ defence.
The fact that the club has already qualified for the Round of 16 has surely impacted on Villas-Boas’ decision not to take the pair to Australia, as has their 5-1 win over the Sydney club on Matchday 2.
However, there is something on the line for Shanghai to play for, as a win can see them top Group F as they are locked on 12 points with Urawa but behind on goal difference.
In terms of form, the Red Eagles are flying high as they are coming off a 2-0 win over FC Seoul and a 3-0 demolition of Guizhou Zhicheng in the Chinese Super League on Friday.