Sydney FC hammered Shanghai SIPG 4-0 to end their AFC Champions League drought under coach Steve Corica in sensational fashion.
Bottom of Group H and with their hopes of advancing to the knockout stage already over, the Sky Blues recorded their biggest ACL win to snap an 11-game winless streak in the continental competition.
Goals from captain Alex Wilkinson and midfielder Luke Brattan before the break and a second-half double from Trent Buhagiar secured the win over Aaron Mooy’s SIPG.
The decisive victory, however, was marred by the loss of goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic after an aerial clash in just the third minute – the teenage custodian replaced by Tom Heward-Belle.
Sydney later announced the 18-year-old Pavlesic suffered a fractured collarbone in the incident.
Sydney dominated the first half, imposing themselves in an attacking manner and coming under only occasional threat from the Chinese Super League giants.
Alex Wilkinson latched onto a Rhyan Grant nod on from a corner to head home from close range in the 28th minute – for his maiden ACL goal.
Five minutes later, Brattan found the top corner of the net with a solid drive from 20 metres out.
Two clinical finishes within four minutes from Buhagiar rounded out the scoring as the 22-year-old became Sydney equal top scorer in the ACL – joining Corica and Alex Brosque with four goals each.
Corica was delighted with his team’s performance as he celebrated a first ACL win as coach.
“I’m very pleased for the players, they deserved that game and played really well,” he said.
“They dominated from start to finish and scored some excellent goals.
“Trent Buhagiar scored two great goals and maybe could have ended up with more.
“I think that game has been coming and today we showed exactly what we can do.
“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.”
Despite the win on Tuesday, Sydney remain bottom of the standings before they complete their campaign against the Ange Postecoglou coached group leaders Yokohama F. Marinos on Friday (9pm AEDT).
The Sky Blues will fly home after that game for 14 days in hotel quarantine but have received an exemption allowing them to train during that period in the lead-up to their A-League title defence.