Preview: Adelaide United v Pohang Steelers

This is a vital game for both sides with the winner to all but assure themselves a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament.

Date: Wednesday, April 18 Kick-off: 8pm AEDT, 7.30pm local Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium

Head-to-head Played 5: Wins: Pohang 1, Adelaide 3, draws: 1

Previous encounter Pohang 1, Adelaide 0, April 3, 2012

History: Adelaide have dominated this fixture over the years (with three wins and a draw) but suffered their first defeat to the Koreans in their most recent meeting on match day three a fortnight ago.

The Reds looked on track for a well-earned point from Pohang's Steelyard but a rare mistake from goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic allowed Kim Dae-Ho to scramble home a second-half goal in a 1-0 win for the Steelers, which means both sides top the group at the halfway stage of the competition.

Form: Past five matches: Adelaide: DLWDL Pohang: WWWLL

It's hard to get a gauge on Adelaide's form, with John Kosmina's side not having played a game since their loss to Pohang two weeks ago. The Reds have played a couple of friendly games since but there's no doubt they will be lacking a little match sharpness now they are out of season.

Just how much that will affect their performance will go a long way to determining what type of result they get from this match.

Pohang's form has taken a dip in the last week with the club losing their last two matches in the K-League. After winning four matches in a row both at home and in the ACL, the Steelers have since lost to Suwon (2-0) and Jeju United (3-2) in their last two domestic games to dent their confidence as they head to Adelaide.

Match Committee: Adelaide will be without midfielder Dario Vidosic, who hasn't recovered from a hamstring strain picked up in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.

Reds coach John Kosmina was hopeful the 25-year-old would be right to play but has opted to take the cautious approach with two group-stage games to go after Wednesday's clash.

Pohang are unlikely to make too many changes to the side that beat the Reds in the last match, although striker Kim Dae-Ho has been in impressive form of late and could force his way into the starting side.

Danger men: Eugene Galekovic - Might seem a little strange to nominate a goalkeeper as a key to victory but how Galekovic performs will go a long way to determining how the Reds go in this one.

The club skipper was disappointed with his role in the loss to Pohang in the last clash and will be eager to make amends with a big game this time around. Bruce Djite and Sergio van Dijk will also be looking to break their respective goal-droughts.

Shin Hyungmin - While the likes of Derek Asamoah and Ianis Zicu get most of the headlines for the Steelers, it's skipper Hyungmin that really makes the side tick.

Equally comfortable in central defence or midfield, the 25-year-old breaks up many of the opposition's attacks before they get too threatening and is also a good distributor with the ball to get Pohang moving forward.

Adelaide will also need to keep an eye on Kim Dae-Ho, who came off the bench to score the winner in the last match.

At the end of the day… This is a vital game for both sides with the winner to all but assure themselves a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament. Adelaide wouldn't have lost any confidence from their narrow defeat to the Steelers two weeks ago and have won both previous clashes between the clubs at Hindmarsh.

The Reds haven't played a competitive match since the last meeting with Pohang and with the A-League now over are able to focus all their energies on the ACL. The only downside is John Kosmina's men will be lacking a little match sharpness which could take its toll late in the game.

For that reason the Reds will need to get off to a strong start and will probably need to be in front going into the last 15 minutes if they are to take all three points in this one. Adelaide have generally saved their best performances for the ACL so they should come away with at least a point.