ACL evictees Sydney FC turn to A-League

Emma Kemp
AAP

Sydney FC will re-double their focus on hunting back-to-back A-League titles following a frustrating end to a substandard Asian Champions League campaign.

Despite overtures this incarnation of the Sky Blues were Australia's best chance at winning Asia's flagship tournament since Western Sydney in 2014, Graham Arnold's side joined Melbourne Victory in bowing out in the group stage.

Wednesday night's goalless home draw with Shanghai Shenhua, coupled with Suwon Bluewing's 1-0 away win over Kashima Antlers, sent Sydney packing before the round of 16.

The immediate frustration was their failure to convert a single one of their 22 shots against a second-string Shenhua line-up showing little desire to attack.

But by the time Suwon had scored in the concurrent match the result was irrelevant anyway.

Because, with seven goals scored and eight conceded over six group games, Sydney had already given themselves too great a mountain to climb.

Arnold admitted their unenviable form at Allianz Stadium - two losses and a draw - had hurt them dearly.

"If you reflect on the campaign our home form let us down," Arnold said.

"Only to get one point from nine makes it hard for yourself ... it probably let us down."

"Asia is getting better and better very quickly. The big moments you've got to capitalise on."

Sydney must now re-group and re-focus on completing a second-straight season of A-League dominance.

Having sealed consecutive premierships, the key will be in pushing their Asian disappointment to one side to concentrate on preparing for their home semi-final in 10 days.

"We have to forget about the ACL and focus on the next games," said Adrian Mierzejewski.

"It's only Asian Champions League. It's just something extra - it's a gift from last season that the team won.

"I'm proud to play in the ACL but our main goal is the (A-League) championship."