Reds through despite loss

Adelaide United will be the first Australian team to play in an Asian Champions League final despite falling to a 1-0 defeat against Kuruvchi in Tashkent on Wednesday night.

Adelaide United will be the first Australian team to play in an Asian Champions League final despite falling to a 1-0 defeat against Kuruvchi in Tashkent on Wednesday night.

The Hyundai A-League side took a 3-0 advantage into the second leg of their semi-final clash at the MHSK Stadium and never looked likely to relinquish that lead with a defensive display that was only blemished by substitute Bahodir Pardaev's strike 11 minutes from time.

And while the Reds were forced to endure a few nervous moments in the closing stages they were able to secure a 3-1 aggregate win that sets up a meeting with Japanese side Gamba Osaka in next month's two-legged showpiece.

Adelaide signalled its intention to defend its lead from the opening whistle with their Brazilian striker Cristiano often a lone figure up front.

The Reds boast the best defensive record in the Champions League this season, having conceded just three goals in their previous nine games, and Aurelio Vidmar's side showed just why that was the case with a first-half rearguard that rarely allowed the home side to threaten their goal.

Kuruvchi captain Server Djeparov volleyed over after three minutes while Jasur Hasanov fired across Eugene Galekovic's goal two minutes later to give the hosts some hope early on.

But those chances would prove rare moments of promise as the home side's early pace slowed in the face of Adelaide's choking tactics.

When Kuruvchi did find a way past Galekovic the away defence was there to clear the danger with Hasanov getting a head on Djeparov's far-post cross, only to see his effort scrambled away on the line.

Kuruvchi's hopes then suffered a major blow on the stroke of half-time when Chilean striker Jose Luis Villanueva limped off with what seemed a recurrence of the hamstring injury he suffered in the first half of the first leg.

The home side's problems were almost compounded moments later when Cristiano narrowly headed over following a cross from his fellow Brazilian Cassio.

Kuruvchi regrouped at the break and would have gone ahead six minutes after the re-start but for a brave save from Galekovic who smothered Timur Kapadze's shot with the midfielder looking certain to score.

Adelaide was content to concede possession to its hosts as the game wore on and looked as though they would earn a clean sheet for their efforts before Pardaev finally broke through with 79 minutes on the clock.

A long ball forward was flicked on by second-half replacement Anvarjon Soliev to allow Pardaev, who had anticipated the move with his run forward, the chance to slide a shot low across Galekovic.

And while Kuruvchi continued to push forward for the two goals extra they required, their hopes were in vain as the Reds' imposing defence held firm to secure a historic place in the final.

Asian Champions League - Results 22-10-2008

Bunyodkor Tashkent 1 Soliev 78 Adelaide United 0