Vidmar lauds fighting spirit

Aurelio Vidmar paid tribute to Adelaide United after the Reds were bundled out of the AFC Champions League in dramatic circumstances on Wednesday night.

Aurelio Vidmar paid tribute to Adelaide United after the Reds were bundled out of the AFC Champions League in dramatic circumstances on Wednesday night.

United went down 3-2 to Jeonbuk Motors after a header from South Korea international Lee Dong-Gook broke Adelaide hearts, four minutes before the match was to be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Although Vidmar was disappointed with the result, he applauded the effort shown by the Reds against a quality opposition.

"I was very proud," Vidmar said.

"I thought they did a tremendous job under difficult circumstances. They were up against an extremely good side, the K-League champions, and I'm sure everyone who was at the stadium could see what a great side they (Jeonbuk) were."

Vidmar highlighted the resilience of Adelaide to twice come from behind to send the match into extra time.

The Reds' boss added that while the Hyundai A-League season was a letdown for United, he was proud with the character his side demonstrated over the last nine months.

"We were very proud of the way our boys performed. A couple of times they were on the canvas but they got themselves up and back into the game," he said.

"That showed a lot of character, so I'm extremely proud of not only the way they performed last night but also the way they bounced back from the A-League and throughout this whole Asian Champions League campaign."

Vidmar echoed the sentiments of stand-in coach Joe Mullen who said the loss was 'hard to take' on Wednesday night.

"It-s a really bitter pill to swallow," said Vidmar.

"Sometimes when you've made such a great effort to get yourself back in the game and try to win the game, and unfortunately we just came up a little bit short."

"You can't fault them because they really went out there and gave everything they had. They didn't have anything left in their tanks."

The Reds' loss now means there are four K-League teams through to the quarter-finals, with the potential for an all-Korean semi-final and final in the ACL.

Jeonbuk Motors, Pohang Steelers, Seongnam Ilhwa and Suwon Bluewings have all made it through to the quarters after knocking off some quality opposition, including two of the J-League's powerhouses.

Pohang defeated Group F winner Kashima Antlers 1-0 while Seongnam Ilhwa thrashed former 2008 champion Gamba Osaka 3-0.

"I would think with the way things are shaping up now it could be (all Korean semi-final)," said Vidmar.

"Pohang are strong, Jeonbuk certainly will be there or thereabouts. I wouldn't discount Seongnam either, they're a very strong side as well. They're a very powerful nation and they deserve what they've got so far."