United's winning run ends
Adelaide United’s perfect 2010 AFC Champions League start came to an end as Sanfrecce Hiroshima recorded its first win of the campaign with the Group H match finishing 1-0.
Adelaide United-s perfect 2010 AFC Champions League start came to an end as Sanfrecce Hiroshima recorded its first win of the campaign with the Group H match finishing 1-0.
A goal on the stroke of half time courtesy of Sanfrecce captain Hisato Sato was enough to hand Sanfrecce its first points in the ACL, exacting revenge in the return fixture.
Reds- boss Aurelio Vidmar opted to keep the same eleven that had recorded three wins from three starts, despite speculation, even coming from Vidmar himself, that he would make changes to freshen up and rest the squad.
Sanfrecce brought in the goal scorer from last week Issei Takayangi who was lively throughout the opening half.
The Purple Archers-s midfielders found plenty of space and were allowed too much time in the front third.
The hosts strung together beautiful passes in dangerous positions but the final pass let them down. The interchanging around the box had United chasing shirts at times with Eugene Galekovic coming to the rescue more than once for the Reds.
Massato Yamakazi posed the biggest threat calling Galekovic into action with a fistful of chances. With 25 minutes on the clock, his 20m shot from the edge of the area was well covered by the United keeper but a few minutes later Galekovic could do little but watch the ball smash against the cross bar.
Yamakazi had an acre in the penalty area after a sweet exchange of passes and had Galekovic beaten from 8m, but not the bar.
On the stroke of half time a well worked move on the edge of the box from the visitors, including sweet back heels and clever little flicks, set up Satoru Yamagishi from 10m. The shot required a brilliant reflex save from Galekovic to keep the scores locked at 0-0.
From the resulting corner though, Sanfrecce took a well deserved lead. The corner was flicked on at the near post and Sato arrived unmarked to head home on the back post.
United-s chances were few and far between in a sluggish first half for the Group H leader.
Sergio van Dijk brought down Scott Jamieson-s long ball and beat two defenders with his first touch but his right foot shot didn-t have enough on it to trouble Shasaku Nishikawa in the Sanfrecce goal.
On the half hour mark it was captain Travis Dodd who wasted a golden chance for United. A Marcos Flores free kick was whipped into the area and Nishikawa-s punch fell to Dodd with an open goal beckoning.
He struggled to get a shot off and some desperate defending from Sanfrecce cleared the ball, but only as far as Matthew Leckie whose soft shot was saved. Sanfrecce continued to dominate the second half with plenty of possession and a constant threat around the area. Hiroshima controlled the tempo of the match but allowed the Reds patches of applied pressure.
United created little going forward and relied mostly on dead-ball situations. A Jamieson free kick was dangerously curled in but Leckie could only direct his header wide.
The following Jamieson in-swinger caused a goal mouth scramble that nearly saw van Dijk tap in from 6m.
Flores- sublime back heel on the hour mark found Lucas Pantelis running through the penalty area but his cut back was to a vacant back post.
This seemed to spark the visitors into life as Cassio came on to replace Leckie. United enjoyed a purple patch, again coinciding with the introduction of the little Brazilian.
With 10 minutes remaining Yamakazi could have sealed the match after receiving a cut back from the left. The lively forward scuffed his shot though, keeping the score at 1-0.
United continued to press in search of an equaliser and in the final minute van Dijk almost stole one for the visitors. After collecting the ball on the edge of the area, the marksman turned his defender and fired with the left boot only to watch it whiz past the post.
Sanfrecce held on after some anxious final moments to keep its slim round of 16 hopes alive while United will have to wait until match day five to cement its place beyond the group stage.