Adelaide keeps rolling

Adelaide United has recorded a stunning victory in China, downing Shandong Luneng 2-0 on match day two in the Asian Champions League.

Adelaide United has recorded a stunning victory in China, downing Shandong Luneng 2-0 on match day two in the Asian Champions League.

United braved freezing match day conditions and snow during the lead-up, along with 30 hours of travelling, as the Reds snatched maximum points moving three points clear of their nearest rival in group H.

Goals in each half to Sergio van Dijk and Matthew Leckie ensured United kept a 100 per cent record in the ACL.

Both sides entered the match with unchanged line-ups from their respective match day one fixtures, meaning Shandong fielded nine internationally capped players.

Seven of Shandong's starting eleven remained from the 2-2 draw these two sides played at the Shandong Sports Centre in 2007, while only Robert Cortnthwaite, Lucas Pantelis and captain Travis Dodd took part for Adelaide United.

After a cagey first 15 minutes where both sides felt each other out, the Red's had managed to contain star play-maker Roda Antar but Shandong's right winger Lu Zhiang received plenty of the ball and caused all sorts of problems for left back Scott Jamieson.

Wang Yongpo had an outstanding first half for the hosts, demonstrating superb vision and distribution.

United's formation remained compact, though, with Shandong's only real chance coming early in the eighth minute when Wang Yongpo collected the ball inside the penalty area and let fly from a tight angle. United keeper Eugene Galekovic battered the ball away and kept the scores level.

The Reds were content to let Shandong have the lion's share of possession, with the speedy Leckie and Dodd always looking for a fast counter.

Just on the half hour mark, Argentine Marcos Flores sliced open Shandong's defence. The creative play-maker found Pantelis with a beautifully weighted through-ball. The diminutive left-footer whipped in an inch-perfect cross with his right boot for van Dijk to score his first goal in Adelaide colours, giving the Reds the lead with a free header.

The Chinese 'Real Madrid' stepped up the intensity in search of an equaliser and in effect gave United more opportunity to counter. Only poor choice of passes in the front third denied Adelaide a second goal.

Cui Peng was lucky not to be dismissed early in the second half after a malicious two-footed, studs-up challenge on Jamieson.

United and van Dijk nearly found the net for a second time. Marrone found Dodd on the right who nutmegged his opponent before finding van Dijk inside the area. The goalscorer's shot however was rifled straight at the 'keeper Li Leilei.

Ten minutes into the second half, Antar missed a chance to equalise for Shandong, skewing his header wide of the goal from a dangerously taken free kick by Wang Yongpo. This began an onslaught for Shandong as they attacked down the right and tried to take advantage of a series of set pieces.

Flores also very nearly got his first goal for United after Pantelis found Dodd on the end of a long run. The captain was left isolated up front, but did well to hold up possession and find Flores inside the box but the Argentine couldn't find a way past Li Leilei.

It mattered little when from the resulting corner Jamieson's in-swinger was delivered to an open back post and found Leckie charging in at full steam. The young gun thundered his header toward goal watching it smash against the cross-bar and bounce down and over the line. The referee checked with his assistant before awarding United its second goal.

Shandong then rang in the changes, bringing on the attacking Benson who looked lively and dangerous. Antar grew in confidence and found more space and forced Galekovic into a fine save from 6 metres.

The Chinese Super League team continued to press in attempt to claw their way back into the match while United brought on Adam Hughes and Cassio to replace Flores and van Dijk to shore things up in the midfield.

Shandong almost grabbed a consolation goal right at the death when Li Jinyu was picked out from the left, but Galekovic was able to keep a clean sheet blocking the Chinese striker's shot from close range.

United now hosts Sanfrecce Hiroshima on match day three at Hindmarsh Stadium on March 24.