Adelaide United FC faces a case of the unknown when it goes up against Persipura Jayapura in a cut-throat AFC Champions League Play-Off at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Adelaide United FC faces a case of the unknown tomorrow night (Thursday 16 February 2012) when it goes up against Indonesia-s Persipura Jayapura in a cut-throat AFC Champions League Play-Off at Hindmarsh Stadium.
The AFC Champions League parade is back in Adelaide earlier than expected with the Reds obligated to play in a one-off game for its place in the Group Stage of the 2012 competition after Persipura were granted the opportunity to try and qualify following a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
These circumstances have meant the Reds have only had limited time to prepare for a team they know little about and get themselves into do-or-die mode for a game that has plenty hinging on the result.
However, United Assistant Coach Luciano Trani is confident that it will not matter if the home side can put it all together on the field.
Trani is down as the Reds- Head Coach for this game due to John Kosmina not having the required coaching licence to be a Head Coach under AFC regulations, although Kosmina will still coach the team on match day, similarly to the situation with Aurelio Vidmar and Joe Mullen in 2010.
“They (Persipura) are unknowns to us. We don-t see them like we see the other A-League teams but as long as we play well tomorrow night, it doesn-t matter who we play against, we-ll win,” Trani said.
Reds captain Eugene Galekovic echoes Trani-s presumptions. While there is a possibility the Reds could still make it through even if they lose courtesy of an appeals process, Galekovic wants the result of the match to leave no doubts that Adelaide United will compete in its fourth AFC Champions League campaign.
“It-s a weird one, we don-t know what to expect. All of their players are guys we-ve never heard of so we-ve just got to worry about ourselves, give our best performance and if we win we-re through, if we lose we still might be through, so it-s a bit of a weird one for us,” Galekovic said.
“We want to go out there and win and settle all of those matters before it goes to court, so we-re here to win the game and move on from there.”
The Reds will front up just four days after defeating Gold Coast United, but Trani believes it is of benefit rather than a hindrance leading into a game of such importance.
“We-ve just payed against Gold Coast four days ago, so now it-s about getting ourselves focused on getting ourselves back in the AFC Champions League,” Trani said.
“Things have obviously changed since we knew a month ago, so now it-s about getting our confidence from where we left off on the Gold Coast and hopefully we can continue that tomorrow night.”
Due to issues with having to organise visas at such short notice, Persipura-s squad only arrived in Adelaide this afternoon, leaving them just over 24 hours to acclimatise.
It may be seen as less than ideal preparation, but Trani and Galekovic are both adamant the Reds will not be taking their opponents at all lightly.
“You want to take advantage of every situation but teams have prepared poorly and actually surprised with unexpected results, so we-ve just got to make sure that we get our players physically prepared and also mentally ready to take on a team that is doing well in their league…they-ve got a bit of confidence coming into this game so we-ve got to make sure that we-re ready,” Trani said.
Galekovic, the Reds- most capped current AFC Champions League campaigner who has reserved some of his best performances for the Asian club competition, also knows Persipura will be hungry to for victory.
“Obviously the climate is a lot different over there, getting here a day before probably won-t help…but that-s part of the game, mentally they-re going to be ready and they-re going to want to go through just as much as we are,” Galekovic said.
Due to the limit of three foreigners per squad for the ACL, Kosmina has been forced to leave out Uruguayan midfielder Francisco Usucar for tomorrow night-s encounter, with Evgeniy Levchenko required to again partner Nigel Boogaard in defence.
Furthermore, with a larger number of players permitted on the bench, Kosmina has also included Ricardo Da Silva and three players from the Reds- Youth Team – Evan Kostopoulos, John Mavromatis and Jordan Elsey.
Gates at Hindmarsh open at 6pm with kick-off at 7.30pm (ACDT). Tickets are just $15 for adults and concession, while kids aged 15 and under are FREE. Tickets are available through Ticketek.
AFC Champions League 2012 Play-Off
Adelaide United FC v Persipura Jayapura
Thursday 16 February 2012, Hindmarsh Stadium
Kick-Off: 7.30pm ACDT
Referee: Toma Masaaki (Japan)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 7.Zenon Caravella, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 13.Ricardo Da Silva, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 23.Evan Kostopoulos, 26.John Mavromatis, 27.Jordan Elsey, 38.John Hall (gk)
Perispura Jayapura squad: 1.Yoo Jaehoon, 2.Richardo Salampessy, 3.David Laly, 4.Alberto Da Costa, 5.Kran Gar Zah Rahan, 6.Imanuel Wanggai, 7.Imanuel Permenas Padwa, 8.Ian Kabes, 9.Moses Banggo, 10.Gerald Pangkaly, 11.Daniel Tata, 12.Ferdiansyah, 13.Yustinus Paew, 14.Titus Bonai, 15.Ortizan Salossa, 16.Eki Sabililah, 17.Fiktor Pae, 18.Lukas Mandowen, 19.Marko Kabiay, 20.Yohanis Tjoe, 21.Bio Paulin Pierre