Adelaide United coach John Kosmina has stressed the importance of gaining home advantage in the second round of the AFC Champions League by beating Japanese rivals Gamba Osaka in the final Group E fixture.
Adelaide United coach John Kosmina has stressed the importance of gaining home advantage in the second round of the AFC Champions League by beating Japanese rivals Gamba Osaka in the final Group E fixture next Wednesday night.
The Reds travel to Japan knowing victory at the Osaka Expo '70 Stadium would seal top spot in the group and a round of 16 game at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29.
Adelaide are currently op top of Group E on 10 points and are assured of a place in the knockout phase regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's other group clash between three-time ACL winners Pohang Steelers and reigning Uzbekistan champions Bunyodkor.
Pohang sit in second with nine points, needing just a draw to qualify, while a win would see Bunyodkor leap the South Korean giants into second and snatch a place in the next round.
Bottom-placed Gamba welcome Adelaide with nothing to play for, unable to progress to the next stage after winning just once in the prestigious Asian tournament.
Although the focus has shifted to the domestic J-League campaign for Gamba, Kosmina expects the 2008 ACL Champions to put up a determined fight against his Reds outfit.
"It's super important that we get a result there (Japan) to get the (second round) game here at Hindmarsh and give us every chance of making the quarter-final," Kosmina said.
"Gamba are a good side with a lot of respect in Asia so they are not going to come out next Wednesday night and play to lose - no professional team does.
"We have to go there in the frame of mind that we need to get a result. It doesn't matter that we've already qualified."
Despite three points being the objective against what is expected to be a weakened Gamba, Kosmina said he would not risk altering his tactics to an all out attack on the Japanese side.
The former Sydney FC coach said he would rather stick to the game plan that has been so far successful for the Reds.
"We will play the game we've been playing," Kosmina said.
"We have been creating more and more opportunities as each game has gone on, certainly in the last two at home we've made some good chances.
"From that perspective we'll go there and play the game we are comfortable with."
Adelaide have made only one change to the team that was held to a scoreless draw by Bunyodkor two weeks ago, with defender Iain Fyfe replacing holding midfielder Osama Malik, who suffered a knee injury in the stalemate.
Sergio van Dijk could force his way into the starting 11 but Kosmina said he was reluctant to include the Dutchman given the fine form fellow striker Bruce Djite has shown as the lone forward.
"I'm still tossing up about Serge and Bruce because both trained well this week - it's a hard call," Kosmina said.
"I'm real loath to change for the sake of change. When things are working you minimise your changes."
Dario Vidosic limped from training on Friday and looked in some distress after throwing his guernsey to the floor, however Kosmina said the marquee star was involved in only a minor clash that was "nothing serious", leaving him available for Wednesday.