Brisbane Roar are one game away from returning to the AFC Champions League Group Stage for the first time since 2015.
All that stands in their way is a parochial home crowd and a Chinese Super League outfit led by Argentinian international forward Carlos Tevez.
The Roar will enter Wednesday night’s clash (9:45pm KO QLD time) with Shanghai Shenhua as underdogs but Captain Matt McKay says the boys in orange have what it takes to win the do-or-die tie.
“We want to be a part of the [AFC] Champions League because we’re a successful club and to do that we need to perform,” McKay said.
“We shouldn’t think of ourselves too much as underdogs – we have a great squad and we’re a good chance of progressing.”
The Roar progressed to the clash with a resounding 6-0 drubbing of Filipino side Global FC and now turn their attention to the three-time Chinese Champions managed by Gus Poyet, the former manager of English Premier League side Sunderland.
McKay says media attention will inevitably lie on the high-profile names within the Chinese side’s ranks but says focusing on executing their own game plan is the key to success.
“They obviously have a number of good players in their team,” McKay said.
“We have to watch them but we need to focus on executing our game plan and if we do that then we’ll be a chance.”
Brisbane are undefeated in their past four matches in all competitions and also have a fair record in China. The Roar have taken four points from their last two trips to the country, both matches against Beijing Guoan – the most recent ending a lengthy unbeaten run by the side from the Chinese capital.
McKay is well-equipped for Wednesday’s clash after making 31 appearances for fellow Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai, but the skipper is yet to play at the 33,000-seat Hongkou Football stadium.
“It’s actually one stadium I haven’t played at but I know it is a rectangular stadium, which is quite rare in China,” he said.
Should the Roar progress on Wednesday night, they will be placed in Group E alongside Kashima Antlers (Korea Republic), Muangthong United (Thailand) and another playoff winner.
“We have a great squad and we’re all moving towards the same goal and that is to qualify for the group stage, so we’re all doing the best we can to achieve it,” McKay said.
Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC v Brisbane Roar FC
Hongkou Football Stadium, Shanghai
Kick off: 9:45pm QLD time, 7:45pm Local time
Brisbane Roar squad: 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 24.Connor O'TOOLE, 26.Nick D'AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Joe CALETTI, 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk)