Sergio van Dijk’s return to his former club was unfortunately short lived as Chinese Super League outfit Shandong Luneng downed the Reds last night.
The fan favourite featured for 33 minutes off the bench as United found themselves 0-2 down at the break.
It was a bittersweet night for van Dijk, who produced a performance akin to his first tenure as a Red; utilising his commanding presence in the box and hold-up play to produce many opportunities for himself and his teammates.
He thought the Reds deserved a better result though, narrowing his team’s first half performance as a key factor in the defeat.
“In the first half I think we didn’t show enough pressing on Shandong, because I think we would’ve broken them down if we pushed a little harder.
“As you saw in the end we had a number of opportunities, and if we did this earlier, we would’ve got a better result.”
His search for a new club now continues however, with potential interest in Asia, but the Dutchman says that there is always a home for him in Adelaide.
“I would love to come back here, whether it’s for football or for my own life, but that’s for the people up there to decide,” he said.
“These three weeks made me think about life after football in Adelaide as well, so as well as the game, I also have to think about my family and bringing consistency into their lives.”
In a bizarre coincidence, van Dijk made his scoring debut for the Reds in their 2–0 away win against Shandong Luneng FC in the 2010 AFC Champions League group stage.
But it wasn’t to be this time, as van Dijk departs Adelaide, leaving a message for the fans.
“It was very special to play here again, and I never had it in my mind that the people looked at me in this way,” he said.
“It’s a bit strange to hear the support but it was very good, I enjoyed it and I enjoyed playing; I tried to help my team as much as I could when I came on.
“Perhaps hopefully in the future we will see each other again.”
Adelaide United will face Central Coast Mariners in Round 19 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season on Sunday, 14 February at Central Coast Stadium. Kick-off is at 2.30pm ACDT.