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Sydney and Ulsan share spoils in AFC Champions League opener


Sydney (AFP) – Sydney FC and Ulsan Hyundai shared the spoils in a windswept goalless opener to their AFC Champions League campaign in Sydney on Wednesday.

Despite chances, neither side could break the deadlock on a windy night that played havoc with high balls in the Group H showdown at Kogarah Oval.

The game got off to a bright start and both sides were lively in the first half hour, with Sydney’s dangerous former Bolton Wanderers frontman Adam Le Fondre having the best openings.

He hooked one over the bar, then glanced a header wide before nearly beating Ulsan goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon with an audacious chip, only to see the ball sail just past the post.    

At the other end, Junior Negrao should have done better with a close range header, but the Brazilian forward sent it straight into the arms of the A-League team’s keeper Andrew Redmayne.

Milos Ninkovic had a glorious chance to get the opening goal on 37 minutes after a lay-off by Le Fondre following a patient build-up, but he steered a side-foot shot wide from 10 yards.

Seasoned Asian campaigners Sydney were bundled out in the group stages last year when they failed to win any of their home games, and getting three points was again proving problematic.

Oh palmed away a stinging shot from Anthony Caceres early in the second half as Sydney dominated possession and pressed hard for the breakthrough.

But their goal drought at home during Asian Champions League games was extended beyond six hours with the killer instinct again lacking.

For South Korea’s Ulsan, who came through the play-offs to book their spot in the tournament after finishing third in the K-League last season, it was a useful point away from home as they look to emulate their run to the title in 2012.

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