Preview: Sanfrecce Hiroshima v Adelaide United
This will be a tricky fixture for Reds' boss Aurelio Vidmar as he won't know what to expect from the Purple Archers as Hiroshima may launch one final assault at progressing to the round of 16, or field a considerably weaker side.
Date:Tuesday March 30 Kick-off: 8:30pm (ACDT), 9:00pm (AEDT) Venue:Big Arch, Hiroshima
Previous Asian championship appearances: Adelaide United: 2008: Runners-up, 2007: Group Stage Sanfrecce Hiroshima: 2010: Debut
This Campaign: Adelaide United: Adelaide United 1, Pohang Steelers 0, Hindmarsh Stadium, February 24. Shandong Luneng 0, Adelaide United 2, Shandong Sports Centre, March 10. Adelaide United 3, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2, Hindmarsh Staduim
Sanfrecce Hiroshima: Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0, Shandong Luneng 1, Big Arch, Hiroshima. Pohang Steelers 2, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1, Steelyard Stadium, Pohang. Adelaide United 3, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2, Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United will be making a few changes to rest some players and freshen up the squad, giving the bench warmers a chance to shine on match day four in the return fixture against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the AFC Champions League.
It will be a tricky fixture for Reds' boss Aurelio Vidmar as he won't know what to expect from the Purple Archers as Hiroshima may launch one final assault at progressing to the round of 16, or field a considerably weaker side in a bid to rest players and concentrate on the J-League.
The hosts sit bottom of Group H and are yet to register a point while United is flying high with three wins from as many starts. The Reds lead reigning Asian Champion, Pohang Steelers by three points.
Sanfrecce will definitely be without star defender, Bulgarian international, Ilian Stuyanov after receiving a straight red for his professional foul on the Reds' youngster Matthew Leckie on match day three at Hindmarsh Staduim.
While it is unknown which Sanfrecce will turn up on game day, the Purple Archers will no doubt still be licking their wounds after narrowly missing out on three points in Adelaide.
Sanfrecce came from behind to take a 2-1 lead with 15 minutes remaining only to watch the Reds score twice in four minutes,
Despite conceding the points it was still a remarkable effort from the J-League squad after playing more than an hour with 10 men.
A win for United would cement its place in the round of 16 and condemn Sanfrecce to last on the table for at least another week, ruling out any remote chance of qualification for the Japanese side.
Sanfrecce, participating for the first time in the ACL, has some lively players around the ground and showed plenty of promise during the purple patch they enjoyed in the second half on match day three.
Captain Hisato Sato and the club's goal scorers in the loss, Issei Takatangi and Kazuyuki Morisaki caused the Reds plenty of headaches and will no doubt be threats again.
Vidmar though, will be hoping the Reds can make smarter choices in the front third and rediscover the lethal finishing that got it to the 2008 ACL final. Some United players were labelled as greedy after the 3-2 win against Sanfrecce although Vidmar defended his troops pulling the trigger.
The Reds lead 1-0 at half time but could have buried the match at the break with a fistful of chances going begging.
United will be relieved that the weather in Hiroshima is not as daunting as its last road trip with conditions expected to be overcast with a maximum of 10 degrees. Adelaide endured freezing temperatures and snow in Jinan, China for its match day two clash against Shandong Luneng.
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Adam HUGHES, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Francesco MONTEROSSO, 16.Inseob SHIN, 17.Michael MARRONE, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 24.Marcos FLORES, 27.Adam GRIFFITHS
Sanfrecce Hiroshima squad: 2.Ilian STOYANOV, 5.Tomoaki MAKINO, 7.Koji MORISAKI, 8.Kazuyuki MORISAKI, 9.Tadanari LEE, 11.Hisato SATO (c), 13.Issei TAKAYANGI, 16.Satoru YAMAGISHI, 17.Kota HATTORI, 20.Shinichiro KUWADA, 21.Shusaku NISHIKAWA (gk), 22.Tsubasa YOKOTAKE, 23.Hironori ISHIKAWA, 24.Ryota MORIWAKI, 27.Kohei SHIMIZU, 33.Masato YAMAZAKI, 34.Hirotsugu NAKABAYASHI (gk), 35.Koji NAKAJIMA