Petrovic: Sydney a stepping stone to knockouts

Urawa Red Diamonds coach Mihailo Petrovic has said that his side are determined to beat Sydney FC on Wednesday in order to boost their chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League.

Urawa did not manage to qualify for the round of 16 in their last two campaigns in 2013 and 2015, and they last progressed to the knockout stage in 2008, where they went on to reach the semi-finals.

The 2007 champions have a great chance of booking their spot in the round of 16 for the first time in seven years as they currently sit in second place on the Group H standings, and a win over Sydney FC will see them move to the top of the table.

“Winning the match will set a good condition for our team for our next match in Sydney,” he told reporters. “As for the AFC Champions League, we need to get some points from the match against Sydney.

“If we can do so, we will be able to come close to one of the goals we set before the start of the season this year that is to go through the Champions League group stage.”

Urawa will head into the match in a confident mood as they defeated reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande 1-0 on April 5. Sydney FC meanwhile also triumphed in their most recent AFC Champions League fixture, beating Pohang Steelers 1-0 on the same day.