Adelaide have defeated fancied opponents Bunyodkor 3-0 in the first leg of the AFC champions league in what continues to be a historical campaign for the A-League team.
Playing against a team that included the Brazilian (fading) superstar Rivaldo and coached by the legendary Zico the Reds were determined not to let emotion cloud their desire for a home victory. The most telling sign of this was a fantastic tackle by Robert Cornthwaite (pictured) in which he won the ball, a free kick and muscled Rivaldo to the ground forcing him off for treatment.
Adelaide were somewhat fortunate to get the result, at half time the score was 0-0 and the tourists had the run of the play. The second half was different with regards to the score, but for most neutrals, the Uzbeks had a more dominant performance. Finishing with more possession and more shots, they may feel somewhat cheated, but anyone who follows football knows that in the beautiful game, goals are all that matters. Another telling statistic was Adelaide had zero corners for the entire game, weird for a game when they put three past the goal keeper.
Adelaide's goals were something to behold though, at least the first two. Both were manufactured by Brazilian Cassio with sweet left footed crosses. The first (57m) hit the chest of his compatriot Diego, centrally, on the edge of the box. Diego produced a magnificent first touch to chest down and volley from the penalty spot, all on the run, fizzing the ball into the right corner. The second (76m) went to the far post where Travis Dodd out jumped two defenders heading on to Fabian Barbiero who put his classy header past the helpless keeper. For Adelaide's third goal a flying Cassio was somewhat softly fouled while running full pace at goal, just inside the box. The subsequent penalty was stroked home by Christiano (another Brazilian) in the 88th minute, sealing a somewhat unlikely rout.
The next leg is in Tashkent on the 22nd of October, which will be a tough ask for the Uzbeks, needing a 4-0 scoreline to beat Adelaide on aggregate. The final will be against either Gamba Osaka and fellow J-League team Urawa Red Diamonds (drew 1-1 overnight). Where will Adelaide's seemingly destined run end?