Sky Blues switch focus to Hyundai A-League glory
Sydney FC will quickly switch their focus to retaining their Hyundai A-League championship after their AFC Champions League journey ended on Tuesday night.
Despite dominating possession and firing off 22 shots at goal, the Sky Blues drew a blank and were held to a goalless draw by Shanghai Shenhua.
Suwon Bluewings’ 1-0 win over Kashima in Japan rendered the Sydney FC result meaningless anyway but it was still a disappointing way to bow out of the 2018 ACL.
“The stats showed 22 shots at goal to 0. We had enough chances to win three or four matches but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” a frustrated Arnold said.
“It’s been a great experience playing in the Asian Champions League, we’ve learnt some lessons and we’ll dust ourselves off in preparation for rounds 28 and 29.
“It’s called Champions League for a reason; it’s the champion sides in Asia. The standard is increasing rapidly.
"If you reflect on the campaign our home form let us down.
"Only to get one point from nine makes it hard for yourself. Asia is getting better and better very quickly. The big moments you've got to capitalise on."
The Sky Blues must now re-group and focus on trying to win the Hyundai A-League title for a second straight season.
They have 10 days to prepare for a home semi-final against the lowest-ranked winner from this weekend’s Elimination Finals – either Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United or Brisbane Roar.
"We have to forget about the ACL and focus on the next games," star playmaker Adrian Mierzejewski.
"It's only Asian Champions League. It's just something extra - it's a gift from last season that the team won.
"I'm proud to play in the ACL but our main focus is the [A-League] Championship.”