Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adelaide United start with a whimper, not a bang

Adelaide United start with a whimper, not a bang.
A win is a win as they say, but Adelaide United showed little to suggest that they will be a match for Gamba Osaka in the quarter-finals of the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup.

The South Australians laboured to a 2-1 victory over semi-professional New Zealand outfit Waitakere United, but Adelaide had to come from behind to do so as midfielder Paul Seaman gave the Kiwis a shock 34th minute lead.

Five minutes later Adelaide United were back on level terms when an inswinging Paul Reid corner found the impressive Daniel Mullen, and the teenage full-back powered home a bullet header to level the scores before half-time.

Any thoughts of a second half stroll for Adelaide were quickly dispelled as a compact Waitekere defended in numbers and attacked on the break, with Fijian international Roy Krishna causing constant headaches for the United defence.

It wasn't until six minutes from time that Adelaide finally made the breakthrough as captain Travis Dodd flicked on Paul Reid's precise free-kick to end the scoring in the Australian team's favour.

The win came as an obvious relief to Reds coach Aurelio Vidmar, who was quick to praise Waitakere's gritty display.

"They're a smart footballing team with a smart coach and you can see that they've learnt a lot," said Vidmar of the team that also lost out in the same playoff match at the 2007 edition of the Club World Cup."

"They knew exactly how to play. They managed to get a goal and we had to learn to be a little bit patient and I was delighted that we came from behind."

A bullish Waitakere coach Chris Milicich told reporters that he needed just one more year to fashion the Auckland-based upstarts into a team capable of reaching the Club World Cup quarter-finals.

They came close to a monumental upset in this one, but ultimately it wasn't to be for the plucky Kiwi side.

Instead it is Adelaide United who march on, but they will need to improve dramatically if they are to have any chance of beating Gamba Osaka at Toyota Stadium in three days time.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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1 comment:

Bill said...

Adelaide were extremely lucky to get through that match - they were as out-of-sorts as they were against Gamba in the away final. Hopefully this game acts as a wake-up call and AUFC can rediscover the spark they showed against Phoenix the previous weekend.