Story via The Leader
He has scored at the World Cup and played against superstar Lionel Messi but Reza Ghoochannejhad wants to add another accolade to his colourful career – an Asian Champions League winner’s medal.
Sydney FC return to Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah on Wednesday night for their third Asian Champions League group stage match against Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG.

Sydney FC are bottom of group H after two matches and need to win to spark their ACL campaign.

Iranian striker Ghoochannejhad, who joined the club on loan from top Cypriot club APOEL until the end of the season in January, has done much in his career.

On the international stage, Ghoochannejhad scored Iran’s only goal at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and was in Iran’s squad in Russia last year. He played in the 2015 Asian Cup, leading Iran to the quarter-finals.

At club level, Ghoochannejhad has played across Europe and the Middle East in Holland, England, Belgium, Cyprus, Kuwait and Qatar.

Star man: Iranian striker Reza Ghoochannejhad is enjoying his time with Sydney FC. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

 Star man: Iranian striker Reza Ghoochannejhad is enjoying his time with Sydney FC. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

And the 31-year-old told the Leader the Sky Blues had the belief they could overcome the Asian powerhouse on Wednesday night.

“I love playing in the ACL, it’s very different than playing in the A-League. The opponents are playing in different systems which makes it always interesting to face them,” he said.

“Shanghai is a very strong team and I’m sure they have a big hunger for success but so do we. We’re going to handle Shanghai like we do with all of our opponents. We’ll respect them, but the belief to achieve great things in our team is enormous so the three points will stay in Sydney.

“We lost unfortunately in Japan [to Kawasaki Frontale] so it’s the perfect time for us to get back on track and get a good result at home. We have a mix of young players and older players and together we have to chase our goals.

“I do see us [winning] the ACL. Of course there are many good teams in the ACL but we have a very good and solid team. It’s all about believing in ourselves. But it’s not the time now to think far ahead, the game against Shanghai is the next big test for us.”

The clash with Shanghai comes in the middle of a massive week for the Sky Blues, who hosted Melbourne Victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the weekend and travel to ANZ Stadium for their A-League derby against Western Sydney this Saturday night.

Ghoochannejhad has been in Sydney for two months and is happy with his decision to join the Sky Blues. But he is also driven to finish the season strongly with the A-League and Champions League titles up for grabs.

“I’m part of a good team and I love working with my colleagues. The life and the weather in Sydney are also very good which makes the life outside football pleasant for me and my family,” he said.

“Sydney FC is the biggest team in Australia and one of the best teams in Asia. So when I heard of their interest, I was very happy with this opportunity.”

“I’m happy with how things are but of course there’s always room for improvement. I’m working every day to improve my game.

“The A-League is a strong league, especially physically. All the teams are very fit so every game is a new challenge for us as Sydney FC to show that we are the best team in Australia.

“I’m having a pretty colorful career so far, [I’ve] been around many places and learned to play in different systems. I’m very proud of my career so far and I’m looking forward to finish this season in style with Sydney FC.”