Sydney FC's hopes of replicating their A-League success in Asia were dealt an early blow after losing their crucial opening group match to Suwon Bluewings and surrendering their imposing home record.
For the first time in 683 days, the Sky Blues walked down the tunnel at Allianz Stadium with the unfamiliar sour taste of defeat after slumping to a 2-0 loss at home to the Korean club on Wednesday night. Their first competitive home defeat in 22 months was a major missed opportunity for Sydney to transfer their domestic dominance to the Asian Champions League, slipping to a Suwon still in the midst of their pre-season campaign and missing at least two key players.
After nearly two years of dominance in the A-League, Sydney FC discovered quickly that life in Asia is far more tricky. That lesson began in the opening minute when young defender Aaron Calver misjudged the flight of a long ball, allowing Suwon's Dejan Damjanovic to hone in towards goal but he spared the blushes of the Sydney defender with a wasteful finish.
Sydney's midfield metronomes, Brandon O'Neill and Josh Brillante, were as lively as ever but found Suwon far harder to break down. The pair were reliable in breaking down attacks, but their distribution was frequently interrupted or let down by more hopeful passes than usual.