Ambitious Gulls set for Sydney

Left: Sorrento’s 2015 squad. Centre: the silverware up for grabs. Right: Sydney FC’s starting line-up against Chelsea.
Left: Sorrento’s 2015 squad. Centre: the silverware up for grabs. Right: Sydney FC’s starting line-up against Chelsea.

IN recent months, Sydney FC’s opponents have included English Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Tottenham.

The friendly against the Blues pulled a crowd of more than 80,000 to Stadium Australia in June.

Tomorrow night at Perth Oval, the attendance will be a fraction of the size, but the stakes will be higher.

And the two-time national champion’s opponent will be a local group of semi-professional footballers intent on becoming giant killers.

Sorrento FC faces the A-League’s Sydney FC in the FFA Cup Round of 32.

The Gulls have the opportunity to record one of the biggest boilovers in Australian soccer history, while the 2014-15 A-League grand finalists will be hoping to avoid the embarrassment.

Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell, who last faced Sydney FC as a Perth Glory player, asserted his side would take an attacking approach despite the expectation they would face an onslaught.

�You don’t want to just sit back and try and defend for 90 minutes,� he said.

�It’s an opportunity for the players to showcase themselves on a national stage, you can’t do that just by sitting there and defending.�

But he was realistic about the mammoth challenge ahead for the Gulls.

Harnwell, who has just been announced coach of Adelaide’s women’s side, admitted he was unsure of �how much we’ll be able to do against a team of that quality�.

�We’ll be positive, we’ll be aggressive, physical and just see how Sydney can deal with it,� he said.

The Glory games record holder was looking forward to the battle of wits against former Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, who he described as one of – if not the best – A-League coaches.

Arnold told the Times it was important for his side to turn up with the right attitude.

He said the Sydney players wanted to do the club proud.

�We approach every game the same regardless of whether it’s A-League, FFA Cup or Asian Champions League and I’m expecting Wednesday’s game at Perth Oval to be a real challenge,� he said.

With a dream of causing a famous upset on national television, a group of Sorrento players last week visited Perth Oval for a photo, taking in the surrounds as they left.

That’s when the anticipation kicked in.

�As they walked off the pitch, they looked around and started getting a bit nervous and excited,� Harnwell said.

�They’ve worked hard in the last three of four weeks� it’s all down to them on Wednesday.�

Kick off is at 6.30pm.