Preview: Adelaide United v Pohang Steelers
After a disappointing Hyundai A-League season, Adelaide United gets it chance at redemption in the Asian Champions League, which kicks off at Hindmarsh Stadium against the Pohang Steelers on Wednesday
Date: Wednesday February 24 Kick-off (AEST): 7:30pm ACDT (8:00pm local) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium TV coverage: Fox Sports 1 (Live)
Previous ACL appearances::
Adelaide United: 2008: Beaten finalist
Pohang Steelers: 2009: ACL Champions 2008: Group Stage 1998: Asian Club Champions 1997: Asian Club Champions
Analysis: After a disappointing Hyundai A-League season, Adelaide United gets it chance at redemption in the Asian Champions League, which kicks off at Hindmarsh Stadium against the Pohang Steelers on Wednesday.
Adelaide famously made it all the way to the ACL final in 2008 in a campaign which helped put Australian club football on the continental map. Significantly, that performance came after an underwhelming A-League campaign from the Reds and they will be hoping it's a similar story this time around.
The other parallel with 2008 is that Adelaide played Pohang in its first match of that campaign, albeit in Korea, where it won 2-0. The Reds beat the Steelers at home in the return leg in Adelaide, helping it through the group stage on top.
Much has changed since they met two years ago. Pohang has a new manager in Brazilian Waldemar Lemos, who replaces Sergio Farias, while Adelaide will officially be coached by Joe Mullen as Aurelio Vidmar is not qualified under AFC licensing laws to fill the role of head coach.
Pohang, which is making its third trip to Australia in as many years, is the reigning champion in this competition having overcome a tough group before thrashing the Newcastle Jets 6-0 in the second round. It knocked off Uzbeki powerhouse Bunyodkor in the quarter finals and then prevailed 4-1 on aggregate over Qatari side Umm-Salal in the semis. It faced Saudi outfit Al Ittihad in the final in Tokyo and won 2-1 to claim its third continental championship after its successes in 1997 and 1998. It went on to finish third in the FIFA World Club Championship.
Pohang finished second in the K-League last season but lost Farias, who was lured to Saudi Arabia to take over Al Ahli. The Steelers quickly snapped up Lemos, who has coached in Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia as well as his native Brazil.
Lemos, who already has Korean internationals Kim Gi-Dong, Kim Jae-Sung, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Shin Hyung-Min, No Byung-Jun, Hwang Jae Won and Kim Hyung-Il at his disposal, has recruited Brazilians Moto, Alexandro and Almir, as well as Korean strikers Ko-Ki-Gu and Choi Hyun- Yeon and defender Ahn Tae-Eun. Denilson is the most notable departure.
With so many changes and the Korean season not kicking off until the weekend, it will be hard to know what to expect from the visitors, while Adelaide will also have a couple of new faces.
Dutch striker Sergio van Dijk, previously prolific at Brisbane, former Mariners defender Nigel Boogaard and former Newcastle and Gold Coast defender Adam Griffiths will make their first appearances for the club.
Van Dijk will add plenty of potency to an Adelaide attack which looked limp during the Hyundai A-League campaign, where the Reds collected the wooden spoon and had the worst goal scoring record in the league. Argentine Marcos Flores, who impressed in his brief appearances late in the season, will also add plenty of pace and skill.
Up the other end, Griffiths and Boogaard will help re-invigorate a defence which, with veterans Iain Fyfe and Mark Rudan in the middle, looked a little sluggish during the domestic season. Rudan is in some doubt with a calf injury, while Melbourne Heart-bound Kristian Sarkies broke his leg over the weekend and has most likely played his last game for the club.
This match marks the opening of a new chapter for both sides. Both know how important this competition is in terms of the profile and reputation of their clubs as well as the players. Expect a little cagey tactical battle with plenty on inters tint he performance of the new recruits.
Adelaide United: 1. Eugene Galekovic, 2. Robert Cornthwaite, 3. Nigel Boogaard, 4. Iain Fyfe, 5. Daniel Mullen, 6. Cassio, 7. Lucas Pantelis, 8. Kristian Sarkies, 9. Sergio van Dijk, 10. Adam Hughes, 12. Paul Reid, 13. Travis Dodd (Captain), 14. Scott Jamieson, 15. Francesco Monterosso, 16. Inseob Shin, 17. Michael Marrone, 18. Fabian Barbiero, 19. Mathew Leckie, 20. Mark Birighitti, 21. Mark Rudan, 22. Dane Milovanovic. 23. Joe Costa, 24. Marcos Flores, 25. Evan Kostopoulos, 26. Perry Mitris, 27. Adam Griffiths, 28. Matthew Mullen, 29. Joel Allwright, 30. Nick Munro.
Pohang Steelers: 1. Shin Hwa-Yong, 2. Park Hee-Chul, 3. Kim Gwang-Seok, 4. Kazunari Okayama, 5. Kim Tae-Su, 6. Kim Gi-Dong, 7. Kim Jae-Sung, 8. Hwang Jin-Sung, 9. Alexsandro, 10. Mota, 11. Seol Ki-Hyeon, 12. Hwang Kyo-Chung, 13. Cho Han-Bum, 14. Kim Ba-Woo, 15. Cho Hong-Kyu, 16. Kim Jung-Kyum, 17. Ko Gi-Gu, 19. Ahn Tae-Eun, 20. Shin Hyung-Min, 21. Song Dong-Jin, 22. No Byung-Jun, 23. Yoo Chang-Hyun, 24. Hwang Jae-Won (captain), 25. Jung Seok-Min, 26. Cho Chan-Ho, 27. Kim Chang-Hoon, 28. Song Chang-Ho, 29. Choi Hyun-Yeon, 30. Jung Jeong-Seok, 31. Kim Da-Sol, 32. Kim Hyung-Il, 33. Lee Ki-Dong, 34. Kim Beom-Jun , 35. Hwang Jae-Hun, 36. Kim Won-Il, 37. Kang Dae-Ho, 38. Han Ma-Ro, 39. Lee Sang-Hoon, 40. Kim Dae-Ho, 77. Almir