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Sydney FC Celebrate Massive Win to Qualify for Asian Champions League


Sydney FC Player

Sydney FC have reached the group stage of the Asian Champions League after a dominant 5-0 win over Philippines team Kaya FC Iloilo at Jubilee Stadium.

On a cold, wild, wet and windy night at Kogarah, Sydney FC started strong and put Kaya under pressure early with Max Burgess, Kosta Barbarouses and Trent Buhagiar combining well in the final third to test the opposition goalkeeper Zach Banzon. 

The home side continued to dominate with Buhagiar hitting the crossbar from metres out with a powerful shot off a Max Burgess cross. 

Banzon was playing well in goals and made numerous saves to keep his side in the contest, including a brilliant reflex save against Barbarouses.

The Sky Blues thought they had a penalty when Connor O’Toole was fouled inside the box, however the referee disagreed and the game remained scoreless.

Sydney FC finally had some reward for their good play in the 30th minute when another Barbarouses shot from close range was saved by Banzon, Buhagiar reacted quickest to the rebound and slotted the ball into the net to put Sydney in front.

Although Sydney FC had numerous chances to extend their lead, they headed into half-time with a one goal advantage.

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It didn’t take the Sky Blues long to get going in the second half and they had a two goal lead only minutes after the re-start when Brazilian striker Bobo tucked the ball home after Banzon made a good save from a Burgess’ shot.

Two minutes later, Sydney FC had a third goal to effectively put the result beyond doubt. New Zealand international Barbarouses played the ball into Sydney FC and Socceroos fullback Rhyan Grant who was fouled in the box. Bobo stepped up and calmly scored the penalty for his second goal of the game.

Sydney FC continued to create chances and English striker Adam Le Fondre was brought off the bench and immediately had an impact when he headed home Mustafa Amini’s corner in the 71st minute to give his side a 4-0 lead.

Le Fondre grabbed his second goal of the game and put the icing on the cake for Sydney FC 10 minutes later when he ran onto a good ball from Patrick Wood and beat his defender with a clever first touch before calmly slotting past Banzon.

The comprehensive 5-0 win ensured Sydney FC qualified for the Asian Champions League group stage for the fifth consecutive year.

Speaking after the victory, Sydney FC manager Steve Corica said he was happy to get the win and pleased that his strikers found some form after a difficult run of games in the A-League.

“I was quite happy with the win especially with our strikers getting a few goals amongst themselves,” Corica said.

“We want to be involved in this tournament. We want to be there with the best teams in Asia and I’m glad we have qualified.”

Sydney FC now progress into Group H of the Asian Champions League, where they will take on two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors from Korea Republic, Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos and Vietnamese hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai in Ho Chi Minh City next month.

Matches in Group H of the 2022 AFC Champions League are due to begin on April 16 and conclude on May 1. 

Corica said it is a difficult group, but his side is looking forward to the challenge.

“It is a tough group that we have been drawn into. We’ve become used to playing these teams. We faced Jeonbuk and Yokohama not too long ago so we know how good they are and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Yokohama F Marinos were previously managed by former Socceroos boss and current Celtic FC manager Ange Postecoglou. The side is now managed by former Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat, which will no doubt add some spice to the clash with Sydney FC after numerous battles against one another in the ‘big blue’.

Sydney FC came into the match against Kaya on the back of a three-game losing streak in the A-League with their strikers guilty of missing several good chances.

The big win could be just what Sydney FC need to restore their confidence and two goals each to strikers Bobo and Le Fondre will please the manager and the fans too.

Picture of Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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