Adelaide shows steel

Adelaide United got its Asian Champions League campaign off to the perfect start downing Korea's Pohang Steelers 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Adelaide United got its Asian Champions League campaign off to the perfect start downing Korea's Pohang Steelers 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium.

The 8374 strong crowd were treated to numerous chances throughout the match, but were given a rare treat as the hosts took the lead through a wonder goal from teenager Matthew Leckie.

Pohang opened up the better of the two sides and almost took the lead inside five minutes when the dangerous Byung Jun's cross wasn't cleared by Michael Marrone but Alexandro sprayed wide from six metres.

Mota came close just after the quarter-hour mark as his free kick glanced past the post, although Reds 'keeper Eugene Galekovic appeared to have it covered.

Adelaide United sprung into life when it had claims for a handball turned down after Travis Dodd worked hard to get a cross in. Moments later, some clever physical work from Marcos Flores won the ball back for the Reds and the Argentine found Dodd on the edge of the area with a pin point pass. The captain turned and struck sweetly only to see his shot sail over the bar.

United produced its best movement on the half hour when Leckie, Lucas Pantelis and Flores all exchanged passes in the centre of the park. Flores eventually released Pantelis but the diminutive midfielder scuffed his shot from 18 metres.

Pohang went straight down the other end and applied some pressure to the Red's goal with Jae Sung carrying the ball 60 metres before blasting astray. United's defence remained solid, though, with both Robert Cornthwaite and Iain Fyfe blocking shots from Jae Sung and the Brazilian Mota.

The Reds lifted the tempo and began a period of sustained pressure peppering the Koreans goal.

Scott Jamieson floated in a free kick from just forward of the halfway line and found Sergio van Dijk lurking just inside the box. Van Dijk outjumped Steelers 'keeper Hwa Yong ,who was caught in no-mans land, but he managed to keep the big striker's effort out.

From the resultant corner, United produced a text book play right from the training track. Jamieson's inswinger was chested down by Pantelis on the edge of the area as Leckie ran onto the lay-off and took aim. His shot however, was blocked by some desperate defending by Pohang and the Reds had another corner.

The second stoppage proved as dangerous as the first with Jamieson taking the ball from a short corner and whipping it into the mix. Van Dijk again managed to get his head onto it but couldn't direct his effort on target.

Pohang had one last chance before the break with Mota carrying the ball from halfway and playing a nice one-two with Alexandro before firing over the bar from 20 metres.

As the fourth official indicated a minute of time was to be added on, United broke the lines from a Steelers' corner, with Leckie beating his man to the ball just outside his defensive 18-yard box.

The young speedster ran onto the loose ball and carried it the length of the pitch with three defenders to beat. On the edge of the 18-yard box, the teenage sensation weaved through his markers and although Hee Chul managed to get in front, the action was still heading goal bound.

Leckie kept the pressure on, forcing some confusion between Pohang 'keeper Hwa Yong and the defender who, as he attempted to clear knocked the ball onto Leckie's foot and watched it roll through the legs of Hwa Yong.

The goal on the stroke of half-time stunned the visitors as United opened the second half with the same intent as it finished the first with.

Flores continued his superb passing and threaded one through for Dodd 10 minutes into the second half. Dodd took the ball on the edge of the area before beating his man and then watched his shot saved by Hwa Yong.

Alexandro looked dangerous every time he was fed the ball and kept the Red's defence busy without really threatening to nab an equaliser. Galekovic, though, was forced to save from a header as the Steelers tried to find a way back.

United nearly doubled its lead on the hour mark when van Dijk found space on the left and fed Pantelis through the gap. The nifty left-footer squared to Dodd but his shot whizzed inches past the post.

Pohang substitute Jin Sung caused the Reds some problems late on and came close to drawing the sides level, his stinging effort flying just past the post.

Van Dijk had another chance in the dying stages with a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. The Dutchman's curling pile driver again going wide.

The Korean side very nearly stole a point late on as they upped the intensity and pushed men forward. Brazilian substitute Almir was lively as United's midfield tired but the Red's dug deep and held on to claim maximum points. Asian Champions League

Adelaide United 1 (Leckie 45) Pohang Steelers 0 Crowd: 8374 at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide