Reds defender Ben Garuccio says they struggled to deal with Gamba Osaka's quality in their 3-0 AFC Champions League defeat, but said it was an "unbelievable" experience to play against such quality players.
In Adelaide on Wednesday night the Reds conceded twice in the first half before a Dylan McGowan own goal nine minutes from time ensured the J-League club made the perfect start in Group H.
“They [Gamba] were using the ball a lot more efficiently, especially in the first 20 minutes,” Garuccio conceded to Fox Sports.
“You could tell with their first goal they were very sharp and it was a good move, good cross and a great header.
“They were finding those spaces inside us a little bit. Their centre-backs were looking for that ball into the midfielder which we weren’t compact enough in the middle.
“That let us down a little bit but they were very sharp and they are a good team and it showed tonight.”
While Adelaide was on the back-foot for large periods, they did have their moments going forward with Garuccio and Nikola Mileusnic both creating decent chances.
But they lacked a cutting edge in the front third and when Yasuyuki Konna doubled Gamba’s lead in first-half stoppage-time, there was no way back for the hosts.
“I had a good chance in the box and maybe I could have cut back. We score that and we go 1-1 and you just never know how the game can go,” said Garuccio of the Reds’ chances.
“That second goal on the stroke of halftime is a killer…it’s hard to come back from that.
“The second half was alright but I don’t think we created enough quality chances to really be in the game tonight.”
While disappointed with the result, Garuccio feels the experience of playing some of the best in Asia will benefit the young Adelaide squad.
“It showed the first 20 minutes the level they are at in their league compared to us. It was that one step quicker,” he said.
“Me personally it took a little bit of adjusting that first 15-20 minutes I was very quiet but once you come into the game but once you find your feet it’s enjoyable.
“It’s unbelievable to play against these players, in your career these are the sorts of players you want to be coming up against. It’s a great experience for all of us.”
After Saturday night’s Hyundai A-League clash with Melbourne Victory, the Reds head to China for their second ACL clash against Jiangsu Suning on Wednesday night.
Suning won their opening match late on Wednesday night, beating Jeju United 1-0 in Korea.