Cashed-up Chinese club stands in Roar's way
FOOTBALL: The Brisbane Roar has been warned to be on its toes when it visits Shanghai Shenhua for their Asian Champions League playoff clash on Wednesday night.
Argentine superstar Carlos Tevez and attacking partner Obafemi Martins, from Nigeria, are seen as danger men for the visitors, and Sydney United skipper Nick Stavroulakis confirmed they were looking "sharp”.
The semi-professional Australian second-tier outfit played the cashed-up Chinese heavyweights in a warm-up game last week, losing 3-0, with Martins (twice) and Tevez each finding the back of the net.
Despite the Chinese Super League still being another month away from a start, the pair showed few signs of rust.
"There were certain moments where both of them were tracking back or trying to make a tackle,” Stavroulakis told Goal.
"There were moments where they were trying to combine with their teammates at all costs, so if they're not at their sharpest, they're very close to it.”
Stavroulakis said Tevez's goal was created despite him having "no space to work with, one touch, no backlift, with two players on him, and he's found the top corner”.
The striker, who spent time with Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, was a much-publicised signing in December, coming at a cost of a reported $121.75 million over two seasons - or more than $1 million a week.
As well as Martins, he joined Senegalese striker Demba Ba and Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin at Shanghai Shenhua.
Stavroulakis said the Roar would have to be "more defensive-minded ... not to allow space in behind for Tevez and Martins to be able to run around in the front third”.
"But in saying that, I still feel there are certain players at Roar, who can unlock the defence of Shanghai as well,” he added.
Shanghai Shenhua is coached by former Chelsea midfielder Gustavo Poyet, who said his players must not underestimate the John Aloisi-led Roar.
"Brisbane will be a tough opponent and we will have to be prepared in order to get the right result,” he said.
The winner will progress to the Asian Champions League group stage.
Shanghai Shenhua v Brisbane Roar, Wednesday night, 9.30pm (AEST)