Sydney FC finally hit the target
Sydney FC have stepped up preparations for their A-League title defence with a 4-0 AFC Champions League thrashing of Shanghai SIPG.
While the win, Sydney's biggest ever Champions League victory, was too little, too late in terms of progressing to the knockout stage of the continental tournament in Qatar, it provided a massive boost for the Sky Blues ahead of their A-League opener against Melbourne City on December 30.
"I'm very pleased for the players," Sydney coach Steve Corica said.
"They deserved that game and played really well. They dominated from start to finish and scored some excellent goals.
"I think that game has been coming and today we showed exactly what we can do."
Attacker Trent Buhagiar scored twice for Sydney, while skipper Alex Wilkinson and midfielder Luke Brattan each netted their first goals for the club.
"We finished the game with eight boys 24 years old or younger tonight and the majority of them played the last 25 minutes and didn't look in any danger against a very good Shanghai SIPG team," Corica said.
Buhagiar said the win over the Chinese giants, whose side included Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy, should have been bigger such was his side's dominance.
"It was another very good performance from the boys," Buhagiar said.
"We deserved a result from the start as we've been performing very well in this competition, even before the break.
"We've been performing without getting the results, but today we performed and we got the 4-0 result but it should have been more."
The only concern out of the match was an injury suffered by teenage goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic in the first minute. Pavlesic fractured his collarbone and was replaced by Tom Heward-Belle.
Sydney FC finish their Champions League campaign on Friday night against the Ange Postecoglou-coached Yokohama F. Marinos, who like Shanghai have already sealed their place in the round of 16.
Originally published as Sydney FC finally hit the target