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Group H: Sydney FC (AUS) 0-4 Kawasaki Frontale (JPN)

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Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale missed out on a place in the last 16 of the 2019 AFC Champions League despite Yasuto Wakizaka scoring twice to secure a 4-0 win over newly crowned A-League Grand Final winners Sydney FC on Tuesday.  

Wakizaka opened the scoring after just nine minutes at Jubilee Stadium, with Kawasaki needing to better Shanghai SIPG’s result against Group H winners Ulsan Hyundi to qualify for the knockout stage.

But despite Wakizaka and Ao Tonaka adding further goals before half-time and Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao in the second half, Shanghai’s 5-0 win over Ulsan meant it was the Chinese Super League side who advanced as Group H runners-up.

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With Kawasaki needing Shanghai SIPG to drop points in their game to open the door for the J.League side, the visitors made the ideal start as Wakizaka curled a superb effort from just over 30 yards into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Sydney goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle with just nine minutes played.

Kawasaki maintained the pressure on the home side and Heward-Belle was beaten again 11 minutes later, again through Wakizaka, as Tanaka stepped over Maguinho’s pass inside the area before the striker sent a first time shot across the goal and into the bottom corner.



It could have been three for the visitors just five minutes later, but Heward-Belle was at full stretch to claw away Kazuya Yamamura’s glancing header.

Heward-Belle, though, was given no chance after 29 minutes as Tanaka’s first-time strike from inside the area took a key deflection before looping over the custodian.

Sydney came close to pulling a goal back at the start of the second half, but after Reza Ghoochannejhad’s deft close-range chip came back off the crossbar, Luke Ivanovic blazed the rebound over from six yards with the goal at his mercy to sum up a disappointing night for the home side just two days after they beat Perth Glory on penalties to secure a fourth A-League title.

And Kawasaki took advantage of the slice of fortune as Damiao stole possession just inside the Sydney half before racing clear and firing high into the net with a composed finish from the edge of the area.

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