Adelaide United got their AFC Champions League campaign off to a flyer with a surprise win over Group E favourites Bunyodkor at the JAR Stadium on Tuesday.
Adelaide United got their AFC Champions League campaign off to a flyer with a surprise 2-1 win over Group E favourites Bunyodkor at the JAR Stadium on Tuesday.
Nigel Boogaard converted the impressive Iain Ramsay's corner on 13 minutes, after a flick on from Osama Malik, to stun the Uzbekistan champions, who had not played a competitive match since November.
Antony Golec made it 2-0 nine minutes after the interval, poking home Ramsay's blocked shot at the end of yet another swift counter attack.
Bunyodkor looked a different side after the second goal but were left frustrated in the final half hour by Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, who made a series of saves to deny Anvar Gafurov, Bahodyr Pardaev and captain Victor Karpenko.
Substitute Kamoliddim Murzoev scored deep into stoppage time to break Adelaide's resistance but there was no time to cause any more late drama.
With their Hyundai A-League form trailing away, the win in Tashkent will provide a huge boost for an Adelaide side that has a good pedigree in this competition after making the final in 2008.
Adelaide coach John Kosmina abandoned his customary 4-2-2 formation in favour of a more counter-attacking 4-5-1 and it bore fruit immediately.
Bruce Djite played a lone hand up forward with Sergio van Dijk making way, while bright sparks Ramsay and Dario Vidosic assumed the wide roles in the attacking trio.
Cameron Watson also came in to the side that lost to Perth Glory on Thursday with Evgeniy Levchenko and Cassio, left behind altogether.
Australian David Carney, a Sydney FC pre-season target, slotted in on debut at left-back for Bunyodkor, who threatened in the initial stages when skipper Karpenko sent a free kick from just outside the area over the Adelaide wall, only for Galekovic to make a comfortable save.
And, the Reds responded in style from their first real attack in the 13th minute.
Ramsay drifted in an inviting corner, Malik was first to react at the near post and Boogaard was far too strong, his header finding the open net despite Ignatiy Nesterov's desperate lunge.
Moments later Ramsay pounced on workhorse Djite's flick on, with his first-time volley from outside the box forcing Nesterov into a sprawling save.
Stung into action, Karpenko and Bakhodir Pardaev worked a neat opening before the off-side was called and Carney blasted over from close range after an overlapping run when he had team-mates waiting for the cross.
With the early goal settling Adelaide, the tempo of the game and their speed on the break continued to play into their hands.
After half-time Carney was again profligate, producing another skied shot when he had options to his right.
Golec, though, punished the hosts within minutes after a daring run from midfield. The youngster found Ramsay with a blind pass to his left in a two-on-one and after Ramsay had his shot blocked, Golec followed up to slot home from close range.
Galekovic weathered a late storm to deny long-range efforts from Gafurov and Pardaev and tipped away another strike from Karpenko late on.
But he could do nothing to prevent Murzoev from smashing the ball into the back of the net after an initial header was parried away.