Sydney FC facing Asian Champions League exit after loss to Kevin Muscat’s Yokohama F Marinos

Sydney FC have been punished for a slow start against Japanese powerhouses Yokohama F Marinos in the Asian Champions League group stage, with their 3-0 loss now requiring a perfect finish to reach the knockout stages.

Steve Corica’s side conceded twice in the first 12 minutes of the match thanks to a diving header from defender Yuki Saneto and a neat turn and finish by Takuma Nishimura.

And while Kevin Muscat’s side were reduced to 10 men just after the hour mark, the Sky Blues could not get back into the game.

The Japanese team out-possessed Sydney 63 per cent to 37, including almost double the amount of passes, and registered four times as many shots on target as their struggling opponents.

The two former Socceroos teammates faced off on Monday night, with Kevin Muscat’s Yokohama dominating in their 3-0 win over Sydney.(Getty Images: Minh Hoang)

Sydney had a handful of chances to claw their way back into the game, particularly after the exit of Ryotaro Tsunoda who received a red card for a professional foul on Patrick Wood in the 64th minute, but substitutes Bobo and Trent Buhagiar both missed opportunities to cut the deficit.

The two strikers would rue their misses as Anderson Lopes scored Yokohama’s third in the dying stages, killing off any chance of a comeback.

Sydney’s ACL hopes are now hanging by a thread as they enter the final two match days without a win.


They must defeat South Korean side Jeonbuk and Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai in their two remaining games, while also hoping Yokohama beat Jeonbuk, to have any chance of being one of the three best runners-up across the five groups to progress to the knockouts.

The Sky Blues have never made it further than the round of 16 in the competition despite dominating the Australian league in recent years.

“We lost the game after 10 minutes,” Corica said.

“We had a slow start and going 2-0 down it was always going to be hard to come back into it.”

Results against the bottom club in each group will be discounted from the runners-up calculation after Shanghai Port were forced to withdraw from Group J due to COVID-19 restrictions in China.

Meanwhile, fellow A-League Men team Melbourne City are likely to progress to the knockouts after a tight 1-1 draw against Jeonnam Dragons on Sunday.

A soccer player wearing light blue shoots a ball as a player in white tries to stop him
Melbourne City all but secured passage to the nest stage of the Asian Champions League after a last-gasp draw against Jeonnam Dragons.(Getty Images: Thananuwat Srirasant)

Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren opened the scoring in the 89th minute for City, but his goal was cancelled out in the second minute of stoppage time by substitute striker Nika Kacharava.

City currently sit second in Group G, two points behind BG Pathum United, who they will face on Wednesday night before taking on bottom-placed United City on May 1.


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