Sydney FC crush Kaya FC-Iloilo to book AFC Champions League 2022 berth

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 08: Adam Le Fondre of Sydney FC scores a goal during the AFC Champions League match between Sydney FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on March 08, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Sydney FC have qualified for the AFC Champions League -- Asian football's premier club competition -- for the fourth consecutive season after recording an emphatic 5-0 win over Kaya FC-Iloilo on Tuesday.

In what ultimately proved to be a one-sided affair, Sydney led by a solitary goal at the break courtesy of Trent Buhagiar's opener on the half-hour mark before turning on the style in the second half.

A quickfire double from Bobo immediately after the restart -- the second coming from the penalty spot -- saw Sydney firmly in control of proceedings by the 49th minute, before Adam le Fondre notched a brace of his own in the final 19 minutes of the match to seal their progress to the group stage of the ACL.

The tie was initially was originally meant to be a preliminary qualifier with the winner set to take on Changchun Yatai in a deciding playoff, but the Chinese Super League outfit's withdrawal from the tournament has now paved the way for Sydney to gain direct entry into Group H, where they will meet South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Yokohama F. Marinos of Japan and Vietnamese outfit Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

While 2022 will be the fourth consecutive campaign where Sydney have qualified for the ACL, they will be returning from a year's absence after their own withdrawal from the 2021 edition -- with the sustained COVID-19 pandemic resulting in scheduling conflicts with their domestic A-League calendar in the 2020-21 season.