ACL journey suits Reds just fine for Jets opener


Adelaide United FC Coach John Kosmina can see the gripping extra time defeat to Bunyodkor as an advantage rather than a hindrance going into the A-League season opener against the Newcastle Jets.

Adelaide United FC Coach John Kosmina can see the gripping extra time defeat to Bunyodkor in Tashkent just 48 hours ago as an advantage rather than a hindrance going into the Reds- Hyundai A-League season opener against the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

The Reds will enter their first match of season 8 after being narrowly bundled out of the ACL and having travelled the equivalent of approximately 10 A-League away trips interstate.

Currently resting in Kuala Lumpur before flying out for Sydney where they will arrive tomorrow morning, Kosmina says the players have recovered well from their Asian expedition and see the match against the Jets as a chance at some redemption for the heartbreak in Uzbekistan.

“In terms of the physical aspect of it I think they (the players) are quite healthy and I think that-s got a lot to do with our fitness base, so the recovery from even 120 minutes of football has been really good,” Kosmina said.

“I think we came through relatively unscathed except for Serge (van Dijk) who got a nasty cork in his calf and is possibly unavailable on Sunday, but mentally I think they-re in good spirits. I think they-re looking at it that it was an opportunity lost on Wednesday and maybe Sunday is an opportunity to start to make up for the one we lost.”

On top of the motivation, the fact that the Reds have played two high pressure, high intensity games with so much riding on them in the last fortnight leading into the Hyundai A-League season could also be in their favour despite any questions over any signs of fatigue.

“We-ve had two hard games. Our pre season matches were good and our form was good in those games but they weren-t competitive in the sense that nothing was at stake,” Kosmina said.

“Not saying that the teams we played in the pre season wanted to lose, everybody always wants to win, but there was nothing at stake. We-ve had two matches where there has been a hell of a lot at stake and there is no substitute for that kind of mental condition.”

“All sorts of different things motivate different people but the fact of the matter is they-re professional footballers, and whether it-s the ACL or the A-League they-ve got a responsibility to perform regardless of the circumstances. They might be a little bit flat but we-ll have a training session in Newcastle tomorrow and I-m still going into the game confident that we can get an outcome.”

One recent hurdle that Kosmina has been forced to overcome is the news that defender Iain Fyfe and midfielder Fabian Barbiero will miss the match in Newcastle after the club was notified by Football Federation Australia this afternoon that the duo have been suspended by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Due to AFC regulations, Fyfe and Barbiero will serve a one match suspension, the Reds- Hyundai A-League season opener, due to the red cards they received in the loss to Bunyodkor on Wednesday night. But on a positive note, Nigel Boogaard, Marcelo Carrusca and Fabio Ferreira will join up with the squad in Newcastle and all ready for a possible call up.

“It gives us something else to think about but I think we-ve got enough cover and I-m happy about that, so we-ll take it in our stride and it-s just one of those things you can-t change and there-s no point stressing about the things you can-t control,” Kosmina said of the Barbiero and Fyfe ruling.

“We had already planned for the players from Adelaide to come, so it has turned out to be relatively fortuitous.”

A lot of the attention and anticipation surrounding the kick-off to the A-League season has been the arrival of world class players, one of which the Reds are set to face on Sunday in the shape of former England, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Leicester City striker Emile Heskey.

Newcastle is sure to be abuzz with Heskey fever on Sunday but Kosmina is not getting caught up in the whirlwind, thinking only about the Reds getting an opening three points in the bag.

“It-s not about us spoiling Emile Heskey-s party, it-s about us getting a result and it doesn-t matter who we play against, whether it-s Heskey, (Shinji) Ono or (Alessandro) Del Piero, it-s about us getting a result,” Kosmina said.

“If you can get a win against an opponent with such a big name that will be the icing on the cake but it-s not the motivating factor.”

Meanwhile, young goalkeeper John Hall will also travel to Newcastle as the backup to Eugene Galekovic, replacing Paul Izzo who will join the Qantas Young Socceroos squad in Sydney.

Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season – Week 1

Sunday 7 October 2012, Hunter Stadium
Kick-Off: 3.00pm AEDT (2.30pm ACDT)
Referee: Ben Williams

TV: Live & Exclusive Fox Sports 1 www.foxsports.com.au
Radio: ABC online at http://www.abc.net.au/news/sport/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #JETSvREDS)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Ben Kennedy (gk), 2.Scott Neville, 3.Tiago Calvano, 4.Josh Mitchell, 5.Dominik Ritter, 6.Ben Kantarovski, 8.Ruben Zadkovich, 9.Emile Heskey, 10.Bernardo Ribeiro, 11.Connor Chapman, 15.Craig Goodwin, 16.Jobe Wheelhouse, 17.James Virgili, 19.Michael Bridges, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 21.Marko Jesic, 22.Adam Taggart, 23.Ryan Griffiths, 25.Mitch Cooper
*four to be omitted*

Ins: Emile Heskey (England), Bernardo Ribeiro (Skënderbeu Korçëm Albania), Dominik Ritter (FC Winterthur, Switzerland, Josh Mitchell (Perth Glory), Mark Birighitti (Adelaide United), Mitch Cooper (Gold Coast United), James Brown (Gold Coast United), Craig Goodwin (Melbourne Heart), Adam Taggart (Perth Glory), Joshua Brillante (Gold Coast), Scott Neville (Perth Glory) , Mitchell Oxborrow (AIS Youth), Connor Chapman (AIS Youth)
Out: Nikolai Topor-Stanley (released), Tarek Elrich (released), Ali Abbas (Sydney FC), Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix), Labinot Haliti (released), Kasey Wehrman (released), Byun Sung-Hwan (released), Mario Simic (released), Matthew Nash (released), Chris Payne (released), Francis Jeffers (released)

Adelaide United FC squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Osama MALIK, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 6.CASSIO, 8.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce DJITE, 12.Antony GOLEC, 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Daniel BOWLES, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 19.Jake BARKER-DAISH, 21.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 23.Evan KOSTOPOULOS, 30.John HALL (gk)
*three to be omitted*

Ins: Jeronimo Neumann (Independiente Rivadavia, Argentina), Fabio Ferreira (Dulwich FC, NSW), Marcelo Carrusca (San Martín de San Juan, Argentina), Jake Barker-Daish (Gold Coast United), Daniel Bowles (Gold Coast United), Teeboy Kamara (Adelaide United Youth Team), Evan Kostopoulos (Adelaide United Youth Team), John Hall* (gk) (short term replacement for Paul Izzo)
Out: Francisco Usucar (released), Daniel Mullen (Dalian Aerbin, Chinese Super League), Spase Dilevski (Melbourne Victory), Ricardo Da Silva (released), Evgeniy Levchenko (released), Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets)
Unavailable: Zenon Caravella (injured), Fabian Barbiero (suspended – 1 match), Iain Fyfe (suspended – 1 match), Paul Izzo (international duty)