Fans stay away as ACL matches prove hard sell
Champions League midweek football remains a tough sell in Australia, with Sydney FC drawing their lowest ever home crowd in the competition.
Just 4039 attended their 0-0 draw with South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai in the Sky Blues' opening pool game at Jubilee Oval in southern Sydney. It came in well under their previous smallest Champions League home crowd of 5642 in 2016.
While Sydney routinely attract well over 10,000 to their A-League home games, five figure Champions League attendances have been in short supply since their first crack at the competition in 2007.
They drew over 10,000 in all three matches they hosted that year, but have only reached that figure once in their last 11 home games in Asia's premier club tournament.
Melbourne Victory also struggled to pull in the punters for their opening match of the competition on Tuesday, drawing 5572 spectators.
"You would like them to turn up like the A-League but it is what it is," said a philosophical Sydney FC coach Steve Corica.
Sky Blues fullback Rhyan Grant acknowledged midweek games were not ideal for families.
"We appreciate everyone that comes out midweek because we know it's difficult, but if we could get more numbers it would be unreal."
Those that did turn out watched Sydney control most of the game. Very strong winds made life tough for the players and most crosses were inaccurate and ineffective.
Some of the second half goal kicks from the Ulsan goalkeeper into the wind fell short of the centre circle.
"It was a bit of a punish at times, I'll blame the wind for a few of my crosses," quipped man-of-the-match Grant.
Sydney will head to Japan on Sunday for their next game against Kawasaki Frontale three days later.