Merrick: Reds lift prestige

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick believes Adelaide's near certain progression to the Asian Champions League final is the greatest advertisement yet for just how far the Hyundai A-League has come in its short four year history.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick believes Adelaide's near certain progression to the Asian Champions League final is the greatest advertisement yet for just how far the Hyundai A-League has come in its short four year history.

Merrick, whose team was eliminated in the group phase of this year's competition, led the praises for Adelaide and its coach Aurelio Vidmar after the Reds beat Uzbekistan team Kuruvchi/Bunyodkor 3-0 in the first leg of its semi-final showdown at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday night.

It means only a comeback of epic proportion in next week's second leg in Tashkent will prevent United from becoming the first Australia team to reach the final of Asia's biggest club tournament where the Reds will face one of two Japanese powerhouses in either Gamba Osaka or reigning Asian champions Urawa Reds.

Merrick said Adelaide's effort has done wonders for the profile and prestige of the A-League throughout Asia.

"I'd like to congratulate Adelaide - they have done a fantastic job to win the semi-final 3-0 going into the second leg and Aurelio Vidmar has done a fantastic job," Merrick said on Thursday.

"But is also speaks volumes for the A-League and that the domestic competition is at such a standard now that we can compete quite well in Asia."

"The A-League is growing and growing rapidly and in the four seasons, this is the highest quality of teams and football played and now we can compete well in Asia and Adelaide is leading that."