Former Brisbane Roar and A-League championship winner Matt Smith didn’t play as he was sent off in Kitchee’s previous match, an ACL qualifier against Zac Anderson’s Malaysian side Perak. 

“To go from 2-0 up to 2-2 in the closing stages was frustrating,” Sawyer added. “But we have a knack from bouncing back in games and know we can get a result at any stage of a match, so it was pleasing to go on and win 4-2 with me getting a goal and an assist.”

They also face a return to North Korea. Sawyer’s side had to qualify for the AFC Cup against a side from the hermit kingdom last month. Sawyer's side faces the cutely named April 25, on April 30.

Sawyer against Kitchee in the AFC Cup

“If I was ever told I’d have to play in North Korea I’d say you’re dreaming, so to have to go there twice is something else,” he said.

“Some of the boys barely survived the four days with no internet last time!”

Sawyer, out of contract at season's end is attracting interest across the region. 

At 6ft 5 his threat in the air and clever link play in both competitions have caught the eye. 

He added: “It's great that we are sitting in first position on the league ladder with a few games left, and winning our first AFC cup match has added to an already vibrant dressing room.

“Everyone is full of confidence in the team and enjoying themselves, I think the biggest pillar to our success so far is every player has the same ambition and that’s to win every game we play in.

“We never think we will lose a game and winning is becoming a habit.”

Learn more about the AFC Cup here