Sydney FC's James Donachie will cast aside friendship as he and the Sky Blues prepare to face Kevin Muscat's Yokohama F. Marinos in a crucial Asian Champions League clash.
They tasted success together at Melbourne Victory but Sydney FC defender James Donachie will save the catch-up with Kevin Muscat until after Saturday's Asian Champions League clash with Yokohama F. Marinos.
Sydney FC - Yokohama F. Marinos
- Sydney face Yokohama in the Asian Champions League this Friday evening.
- The game will see Sky Blues defender James Donachie face his former manager Kevin Muscat.
- The A-League side are currently third in their Group, having drawn their opening two matches.
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Donachie was a member of Muscat's 2018 A-League Men's grand-final winning Melbourne Victory team and admits there are mixed emotions about facing a Yokohama team with Muscat at the helm.
But the 28-year-old says the focus must be solely on picking up three points from the match, being played in Ho Chi Minh City, given Sydney have begun their Asian Champions League campaign with back-to-back draws.
Muscat's Yokohama can also not afford to slip up after suffering a 1-0 loss to South Korean club Joenbuk Hyundai Motors in their last outing after a 2-1 win over Vietnam's Hoang Anh Gia Lai in their opening fixture.
"I obviously got on with (Muscat) quite well when I was at Victory," Donachie told the Australian Associated Press.
"It's a whole other team, whole different countries as well.
"I saw he had a great first season there last season but I think when I'm playing you're not really thinking about much but trying to win the game.
"After, it's a bit different, we'll see how it goes."
Having drawn 0-0 with Joenbuk in their opener, Sydney salvaged a point from their game against HAGL thanks to substitute Trent Buhagiar's second-half goal.
Donachie says while two points from their opening two fixtures is a creditable return, back-to-back clashes with Yokohama will go a long way to determining if Sydney can emerge from the group stage and continue their continental adventure.
"Qualifying is going to be really difficult," he said.
"If you're not in that first or second position, it's getting really tough.
"We're well aware that we need to get some wins on the board to have a chance."
𝑮𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝑫𝒂𝒚! | Get those coffees into ya - we've got another late night up ahead, with three big points up for grabs â€¼ï¸💪— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) April 21, 2022
Coverage begins at 11:50pm on 10play and Paramount+ 📺#SYDvYFM #ACL2022 #SydneyIsSkyBlue pic.twitter.com/MSD7Gy6NCV
Saturday's game will also reunite Muscat with Sydney coach Steve Corica in a relationship that extends back to when the pair were teenagers at English club Wolverhampton.
"I have a long relationship with Steve but for 90 minutes tomorrow, he is the enemy," Muscat said.
"We will be playing them back to back and it is very important for us to win tomorrow."
Socceroos defender Rhyan Grant remains touch-and-go after missing the HAGL game with a quadriceps issue while another ex-Victory star, Kosta Barbarouses, remains unavailable due to COVID-19 isolation protocols.
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