Preview: Shandong v Adelaide
Adelaide United is enduring freezing conditions and snow ahead of its Asian Champions League matchday two fixture against Chinese Shandong Luneng.
Date: March 10 Kick-off(AEST): 18:30 (AEST) Venue: Shandong Sports Centre, Jinan.
Previous Asian Champions League Appearances: Shandong Luneng: Quarter-finals 2005; Group Stage 2007, 2008 Adelaide United: Runners-up 2008, Group Stage 2007
This Campaign: Shandong Luneng: Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-1 Shandong Luneng, Big Arch, Hiroshima, February 24. Adelaide United: Adelaide United 1 -0 Pohang Steelers, Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, February 24.
Analysis Adelaide United is enduring freezing conditions and snow ahead of its Asian Champions League matchday two fixture against Chinese Shandong Luneng.
The Reds arrived early Sunday morning and have had nearly three full days to adjust to the sub zero temperatures.
The city of Jinan has recorded seven below for both Monday and Tuesday with more of the same expected for the match on Wednesday.
Snow fell heavily on Tuesday with the squad enjoying the novelty of training in the snow. Some of the Reds trained with beanies, gloves and skins while others preferred to endure the bone chilling temperature in an attempt to be hardened in time for the match.
The Reds have already faced off against Shandong at the Sports Centre in Jinan in their short ACL history and recorded a 2-2 draw in the 40,000 capacity stadium.
United opened its ACL account with a hard-fought 1-0 win against reigning ACL champions Pohang Steelers thanks to a wonder goal on the stroke of half time from young gun Matthew Leckie.
Shandong also recorded a 1-0 win in its opening group match, downing Sanfrecce Hiroshima courtesy of a late goal from prolific Chinese striker Han Peng. Both Shandong and Hiroshima qualified for the ACL by finishing fourth in the Chinese and Japanese domestic leagues respectively.
Shandong, the Reds' first ever ACL opponent, a 1-0 loss at Hindmarsh in 2007, will look to consolidate the away win on match day one and no doubt the conditions will be an advantage for the Chinese side.
Dubbed the 'Real Madrid of China', Shandong was bundled out at the group stage last campaign and hopes a result against United will set up a passage to the second round.
The Reds are battling the icy conditions as well as quality opposition. Shandong boasts eight players who have been capped nationally, including goal keeper Li Leilei and the Lebanon's leading international goal-scorer, Roda Antar.
Adelaide United is enjoying an excellent run of form recently, winning its last two domestic league matches, followed by a great result against Pohang.
United boss Aurelio Vidmar has the added selection headache of his new recruits gelling well and playing good football and a return to form for some seasoned Reds.
Of the new signings, Marcos Flores and Sergio van Dijk in particular have breathed fresh life into the Reds line-up, especially in the front third. So much so that there is speculation that van Dijk may extend his stay with Adelaide United beyond the initial six-months and sign a lengthy contract.
"It's getting close now and I don't think the decision will be longer than two weeks away," he said.
"Everything at the club is really positive, the way people are trying to take care of me and my team mates, the stadium, the weather, the city, all of those things are positive."
Van Dijk is the Red's only concern ahead of the match, who was rested for the squad's final training session after pulling up with a tight quad after Monday's hit-out.
Adelaide United 1. Eugene Galekovic, 2. Robert Cornthwaite, 3. Nigel Boogard, 4. Iain Fyfe, 5. Daniel Mullen, 6. Cassio, 7. Lucas Pantelis, 9. Sergio van Dijk, 10. Adam Hughes, 12. Paul Reid, 13. Travis Dodd (Captain), 14. Scott Jamison, 15. Francesco Monteroso, 16. Inseob Shin, 17. Michael Marrone, 18. Fabian Barbiero, 19. Matthew Leckie, 20. Mark Birighitti (GK), 22. Dane Milanovic, 23. Joe Costa, 24. Marcos Flores, 25. Evan Kostopolous, 26. Perry Mitris, 27. Adam Griffiths, 28. Matthew Mullen, 29. Joel Allwright, 30. Nick Munro (GK)
Shandong Luneng 1. Li Leilei, 5. Shu Chang (Captain), 6. Zhou Hablin, 7. Cui Peng, 8.Wang Yongpo, 9. Han Peng, 11. Deng Zhuoxiang, 12. Geng Xiofeng (GK), 13. Gao Di, 14. Yuan Weiwei, 15. Zheng Zheng, 17. Wan Cheng, 18. Roda Antar, 19. Zhang Chi, 20. Wang Lian, 21. Liu Zhao, 22. Yang Cheng (GK), 23. Li Wei, 24. Lu Zheng, 25. Jiao Zhe, 26. Xia Ningning, 27. Ma Long, 28. Ma Xingyu, 29. Li Jinyu, 30. Shao Puliang (GK), Sinisa Radanovic