According to Tarek Elrich, Adelaide United may have inadvertently had the best preparation possible for their AFC Champions League play-off against Shandong Luneng – playing Sydney FC last Friday night.
Reds full-back Tarek Elrich has explained that Adelaide coach Guillermo Amor found some similarities between the Chinese Super League club and Sydney ahead of Tuesday night’s qualifying match for the 2016 ACL group stage.
Adelaide drew 2-2 with Sydney over the weekend, and Elrich reckons it may have given the Reds a taste of what to expect against Shandong.
“It’s funny, Guillermo was watching them play and their style’s very similar to Sydney FC where they sit in and pounce on mistakes,” Elrich told Goal Australia.
“So that’s something we spoke about – make sure we don’t take too many risks.”
Amor conceded at his pre-match press conference on Monday that it has been tough to do research on Shandong.
But it’s not like Adelaide go into the contest completely without any knowledge of their opposition.
“We sent someone from our club over there to watch some friendly games that they played over there, so we’ve got a little bit of footage of that,” Elrich said.
“And the game against the Indian team [Mohun Bagan] that they beat last week was streamed over the internet.
“So we have a little bit of information but they have obviously more. We’re deep into our season and access to our games isn’t that hard to come across. So they’ll definitely have the upper hand when it comes to that.”
Due to Adelaide’s “proud history” in the ACL – they became the first Australian club to play in the final in 2008 – Elrich and Co. are desperate to advance past Shandong.
With up to 2000 fans expected to travel from China, Elrich has called on Adelaide’s fans to produce an impressive atmosphere to ensure home advantage.
“There’s nothing better than playing in front of a packed Coopers Stadium, so hopefully with the way we’ve been going in the A-League, the fans come out and support us tomorrow night,” the Socceroos defender said.
“I think Shandong are sending some fans over from China as well. I’m hearing 1500-2000 fans… so hopefully the atmosphere’s electric.”
Adelaide United will face Shandong Luneng Taishan in the AFC Champions League Play-Off on Tuesday, 9 February at Hindmarsh Stadium. Kick off is at 7.30pm ACDT.