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2008 AFC Champions League Final – 1st Leg



 2008 AFC Champions League Final - 1st Leg

Adelaide United take on Gamba Osaka tonight in a match dubbed the biggest ever to feature an Australian football club, the first leg of the AFC Champions League final in Osaka, Japan.

Adelaide United are set to gamble on the fitness of goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, who has not played since the Semi Final 2nd leg against Bunyodkor/Kuruvchi.

Brazlian playmaker Diego missed United’s last match with a hamstring complaint, but is a likely starter in the Adelaide midfield.

Paul Reid and Fabian Barbiero are unlikely to start, with Reds coach Aurelio Vidmar set to give the pair until just before kick-off to prove their fitness. Kristian Sarkies and Lucas Pantelis are likely to replace Reid and Barbiero in the starting eleven.

Vidmar was wary of the Gamba side but said The Reds would not focus on any individual players.

“Every team we have played in the Asian Champions League have had one or two outstanding players but we’ve never given them any special attention. With Osaka, they’ve got Endo but also 15-20 other very good players, so we know they will be extremely difficult,” Vidmar said.

“They’re a very good side like all Japanese clubs. They’re technically gifted, fast and fit so we will have our work cut out.”

Gamba Osaka coach Akira Nishino expects Adelaide United to utilise their physical style on the ACL final and feels his players must play smart football over the two legs.

“From what I have seen of their previous games, Adelaide United are a very dynamic and strong team who play a very direct and physical game,” said the Gamba boss.

“They are very speedy and strong and they have a significant height advantage over us so we will have to think hard about how we can overcome them.

“We beat Melbourne twice during the group stage but although they play in the same league as Adelaide they don’t play with a similar style. Adelaide are stronger and more physical and they make good use of their physical power.

“We cannot play that sort of game with them because that is not our strength. We have to utilise our originality and try to dictate the style of play.” Nishino said.

The first leg of the Asian Champions League final can be seen LIVE in Australia on Fox Sports 1, with the broadcast commencing at 8pm ACDT (8.30pm AEDT).

The match itself kicks off at 8.30 ACDT (9pm AEDT) and the return leg will be held at a sold-out Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide next Wednesday.

ADELAIDE UNITED FC (Australia) vs GAMBA OSAKA (Japan)
Wednesday November 5, 2008
Kick-Off: 8.30pm ACDT (9pm AEDT)
Expo ’70 Commemorative Stadium
Referee: Malik Abdul Bashir (Singapore)

Adelaide United FC Squad: 4. Angelo COSTANZO, 5. Michael VALKANIS, 6. CASSIO, 7. Lucas PANTELIS, 8. Kristian SARKIES, 10. CRISTIANO, 13. Travis DODD, 14. Scott JAMIESON, 18. Robert CORNTHWAITE, 19. Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22. DIEGO, 24. Paul REID, 25. Robert YOUNIS, 26. Fabian BARBIERO, 30. Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK)

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Published on November 5, 2008




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