Monday, December 15, 2008

Heart-break for Adelaide as Gamba go through

Heart-break for Adelaide as Gamba go through.
Gamba Osaka will take on Manchester United in a showpiece semi-final at the Club World Cup, after the Osakans saw off Adelaide United 1-0 in front of 38,141 fans at Toyota Stadium.

The J. League side did just enough to see off their Australian counterparts, however Adelaide can consider themselves unlucky after Aurelio Vidmar's men turned in a vastly improved performance from the one that saw United thrashed 5-0 by Gamba in the recent two-legged AFC Champions League final.

How different things might have been had Adelaide captain Travis Dodd not struck a golden opportunity agonisingly wide after fifteen minutes, after the pacy Dodd had done brilliantly to fashion his chance on the counter-attack.

Gamba made Adelaide pay for their profligacy, as the mercurial Yasuhito Endo then started and finished a move in the 23rd minute, with Endo's volley from early substitute Ryuji Bando's intelligent knock-down skidding through the legs of Adelaide's hapless keeper Eugene Galekovic.

There was more heart-break for the ubiquitous Dodd when his header came back off the crossbar just before half-time, as the Reds fought desperately for an equaliser.

Gamba controlled proceedings in the second half, and Brazilian striker Lucas Severino should have put the match beyond doubt when he fired straight at the legs of Galekovic.

Yet the South Australian side refused to surrender, and substitute Robert Younis and captain Dodd both saw efforts go narrowly wide in stoppage time, as Adelaide's evening came to a frustrating end.

Gamba talisman Yasuhito Endo claimed that he was impressed by Adelaide's display, stating that the A-League side had displayed their best qualities in the match.

That will come as scant consolation to Adelaide United, however, with the A-League side now having lost three times in a row to their J. League counterparts.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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