Under-strength Sydney FC slump to heavy ACL defeat against Kawasaki

An under-manned Sydney FC have suffered their worst-ever AFC Champions League defeat after losing 4-0 to Kawasaki Frontale on Tuesday night.

With the match coming just 48 hours after their incredible Hyundai A-League Grand Final win over Perth Glory on penalties, Steve Corica understandably made 11 changes to his starting side.

Only Paulo Retre, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Anthony Caceres and Daniel De Silva – who were all substitutes in Sunday’s decider, backed-up for the dead-rubber clash against the J.League club.


Youngsters Liam McGing, Patrick Scibilio, Joel King and Luke Ivanovic were all given a chance to get a rare start in the first team.

And the difference in experience and class showed from the outset as the visitors raced to a 3-0 lead inside half an hour.

Yasuto Wakizaka scored the first two for Kawasaki before Ao Tanaka added a third courtesy of a heavily-deflected effort that wrong-footed keeper Thomas Heward-Belle.

Sydney FC's Grand Final winning team were presented to the crowd before kick-off
Sydney FC's Grand Final winning team were presented to the crowd before kick-off

The Sky Blues almost pulled one back early in the second-half as Ghoochannejhad’s delightful dink over the keeper hit the crossbar, with Ivanovic blazing the rebound into the crowd.

Kawasaki were soon back in control and added a fourth soon after as Leandro Damiao capitalised on a defensive lapse so bury a strike beyond despairing Sydney FC gloveman.

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The 4-0 drubbing is Sydney’s worst-ever loss in the competition, overtaking the 3-0 defeat away to Kashima Antlers in 2011.

Despite the big win for Kawasaki, they miss out on a spot in the knockout stages of the competition after finishing third in the group behind Ulsan Hyundai and Shanghai SIPG.