Reds determined to lock up top against Gamba


Adelaide United FC is focused on controlling its own Round of 16 destiny when it takes on Gamba Osaka in the final match day of the Group Stage.

Adelaide United FC is focused on controlling its own Round of 16 destiny when it takes on Gamba Osaka tomorrow night at the Expo -70 Commemorative Stadium in the final match day of the AFC Champions League 2012 Group Stage.

Stay focused and control what you can control – that is the overriding message coming out of Adelaide United-s squad on the eve of the clash that will have a significant say on the final standings in Group E.

Just one result away from wrapping up top spot of the group, the Reds are eager to decide their own fate on whether they can secure a home game for the upcoming Round of 16 rather than having to rely on a favourable outcome in the other group match between Bunyodkor and Pohang.

A win over Gamba would mean Adelaide United is certain to finish top, and according to Assistant Coach Luciano Trani and captain Eugene Galekovic, this motivation is more than enough for the Reds to rise to the occasion against the Japanese club that finds itself out of contention and not enjoying the greatest run of results in 2012.

“We-ve got a lot to play for. We want to finish top of the group and we know Gamba is struggling at the moment, but whatever team they put out on the field they-ll want to prove themselves because they (the players) want to try and keep their spots and improve in the J-League,” Galekovic said.

There has been speculation surrounding whether Gamba Coach Masunobu Matsunami will field his strongest line up against the Reds or use the opportunity to play a host of his younger, less experienced players.

One thing that is for certain is that Gamba is not going to just roll over for the Reds, Matsunami declaring the players are determined to avenge their 2-0 loss at Hindmarsh Stadium back in March.

But regardless of who runs out for the home side tomorrow night, Galekovic-s sole concern is on the approach and intent the Reds bring to the contest.

“We can only stay focused and worry about the things we can control – that-s going out on the park trying to win the game,” Galekovic said.

“That-s our main focus and we can-t control anything else. The boys are focused, obviously there-s something to play for in trying to get top spot and a home final and whatever happens with Gamba, if they chop and change the team, we can-t control that, we can only worry about ourselves.”

Trani concurs.

“First of all, we need to get the result so we-ll be focused on achieving that, and secondly, we-ll be making sure that our performance warrants our players preparing themselves for the knockout phase,” he said.

“So it-s all about what we do. Where Gamba is at the moment or how many people come to watch the game – that really becomes irrelevant. We-re determined and focused in making sure there are a lot of challenges and incentives for us to have a purpose to play.”

“We-ve got a lot of stake and we want to make sure we make ourselves and the Hyundai A-League proud.”

Following the squad-s final training run this morning, the question over whether Bruce Djite or Sergio van Dijk will start remains unconfirmed, with the only definite change to the starting line up that of Iain Fyfe as he replaces the injured Osama Malik.

Adelaide United-s only previous game at the Expo -70 Commemorative Stadium came in the 1st leg of the 2008 AFC Champions League Final, which saw a red hot Gamba run out 3-0 winners.

But the situation is notably different this time around and the Reds will fancy their chances of recording their second win in three games away from home as they tackle a Gamba side that is desperate to start rediscovering its mojo of its AFC Champions League success four years ago.

A high of 25° with a low of 15° degrees Celsius is forecast in Osaka for match day.

AFC Champions League 2012 – Match Day 6
Gamba Osaka (JPN) v Adelaide United FC (AUS)

Wednesday 16 May 2012, Expo -70 Commemorative Stadium
Kick-Off: 7.30pm ACST
Referee: Nawaf Abdulla Ghayyath Shukrulla (Bahrain)

TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports 1
Twitter: twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #ACLaumd6)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce DJITE, 12.Antony GOLEC, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Francisco USUCAR, 22.Iain FYFE, 23.Evan KOSTOPOULOS

Adelaide United v Gamba Osaka – Overall HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
Played 4 – Adelaide United 1 win, Gamba Osaka 3 wins