Frustrated Corica anticipates Sydney FC changes ahead of do-or-die ACL clash

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Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica has been left to ponder his side’s wasted chances during their short run of AFC Champions League games, and will look to rotate the roster for Monday night’s game as a result.

Sydney FC’s fate in the competition this season will just about be decided on Monday when they face off against Yokohama F. Marinos for the second time in four days.

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The clash could be the Sky Blues’ final chance to make it out of Group H as they currently sit in third, four points behind Yokohama and five behind captain Alex Wilkinson’s former side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Failure to notch a win on Monday night will see them drift further away from the top two, as wins for Jeonbuk and Yokohama on matchday four will see the Sky Blues fall eight points behind the group leaders, all but ending their ACL finals aspirations.

Corica is set to welcome a host of changes ahead of Monday night’s all-important clash, in a continued attempt to combat the humidity in Vietnam as well as a tightly packed schedule of games which has seen the Sky Blues play nine matches over the course of a month.

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“I think we have to obviously change, it’s normal in these conditions, they can’t keep playing every game,” Corica said after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Yokohama on Friday.

“It’s a short turnaround, the conditions are tough out there, it’s hard for both teams so we need to freshen up the squad for the next game.”

Monday could also see the return of internationals Bobo, Elvis Kamsoba and Milos Ninkovic to the starting 11, after the Serbian went unused on Friday night and the former two attackers were substituted on in the final half-hour.

“We have the five foreigners so we’ll give two a rest next time and bring in some new ones,” Corica said.

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The Sydney coach will be hoping for the squad refresher to overturn his side’s lacklustre scoring record, which has seen them bag just one goal during their winless start to the ACL campaign.

“[I’m] very happy with the way we’ve been playing, the chances we’re creating, as we’ve only conceded two goals,” he said.

“What I’m not happy with is the chances that we’re not converting into goals, because that is what’s costing us.

“I say it every game at the moment. We’ve had opportunities in every game, probably the better opportunities in every game and we haven’t got the results we should be getting.”

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The Sky Blues will desperately look to convert their chances as they play out two more matches in the ACL group stage following their clash with Yokohama – neither of which will matter unless Sydney get a result on Monday night.

The Sydneysiders will then return home to Australia by next week to play their final two matches of the A-League Men season, where their finals fate also rests completely out of their hands.

The club sit in eighth position, having played an extra game than both Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners, who are fifth and sixth respectively.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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