Reds on the rise

Adelaide United's AFC Champions League fairytale has continued with the Reds beating Kuruvchi/Bunyodkor 3-0 in their first semi-final leg at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday.

Adelaide United's AFC Champions League fairytale has continued with the Reds beating Kuruvchi/Bunyodkor 3-0 in their first semi-final leg at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday.

United showed some promising signs during a 0-0 first half but came to life after the break with its Brazilian players prominent in a frenetic period of football.

Adelaide hit the lead in the 57th minute thanks to an innocuous cross from Cassio. The floating ball was trapped by Diego who dropped it from chest to foot, beating goalkeeper Pavel Bugalo's left hand with a swift kick.

United was all but home when some Brazilian team-work set up Fabian Barbiero for the biggest goal of his career.

A clever heel flick by Diego set up Cassio for another left side run and another perfectly positioned cross.

Barbiero was in the right place at the right time and saw the ball across the line before being swamped by his team-mates.

And then the killer blow came when Cassio was felled by Soliev Anvarjon inside the box.

Cristiano took the penalty shot and sent the ball into the right hand corner of the net.

Adding gloss to the result was Adelaide's clean sheet, which means Bunyodkor will need an even more impressive win at its home ground to wrestle a grand final berth away from the South Australian side.

United, which is yet to win a championship in the Hyundai A-League, is in the box seat to make a big-time final after proving too determined for its more fancied Uzbekistan opponent.

The second leg of the semi-final will be held at MHSK Stadium in Tashkent on October 22.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said it was a 'fantastic effort' considering the players 'looked jaded' during the opening stages of the clash.

Vidmar said the team changed its approach midway through the first half after Bunyodkor got numbers behind the ball.

"We decided to play a few more longer balls and play a much more direct game and we got a little bit of joy out of that," he said.

"And we certainly continued that in the second half and a couple of goals came from that."

Bunyodkor coach Zico was disappointed with his team's efforts in the second half.

"When the first goal was scored the game was OK, the second, the third, the game becomes more difficult with more pressure and the boys didn't want to play," Zico said.

It was an engrossing first half as both sides started cautiously.

The Reds showed patience and knocked the ball a around while their relatively inexperienced defence did well to mop up a number of challenges from the opposition.

However that promising form was not matched up forward with the home side getting just one shot on goal.

Travis Dodd and Cristiano were being fed plenty of ball and the midfielders were doing their best to create opportunities but Bunyodkor was resolute on the edge of the box and the chances to cross were limited.

The visitors' general play wasn't as good but on the counter attack they were dangerous.

Hasanov Jasur had some early touches while captain Djeparov Server was a livewire throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Substitute Bakaev Ulugbek also added some spark when he took the pitch and he had a shot during injury time.

Rivaldo wasn't influential but he still managed to get among the action. At the 24th minute the Brazilian took a free kick just metres ahead of the 'D' but his shot was easily stopped by Galekovic.

Five minutes later he collided with defender Robert Cornthwaite and was stretchered off the field to catch his breath.

He was jeered from that point from the parochial Hindmarsh Stadium crowd.

Bunyodkor came out firing and threatened to score on a number of occasions. The best came from Ulugbek with a deflection giving him a free shot from just inside the box.

He struck it beautifully but went wide of the target.

Its challenge was then thwarted by a hat-trick of Adelaide goals.

Adelaide United 3 Diego 57-, Barbiero 76-, Cristiano 89- Kuruvchi/Bunyodkor 0 - @ Hindmarsh Stadium. Crowd: 16,998