Thursday, May 13, 2010

Adelaide put up gallant fight but are out of the Asian Champions League

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of South Korea qualified for the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League when they beat Adelaide United 3-2 away in extra-time at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide on Wednesday night.

It was a thrilling match and one full of drama. It was also very physical, with 53 fouls (22 committed by Adelaide and 31 by Jeonbuk) and nine yellow cards (six to the Koreans and three to Adelaide). The one red card went to Adelaide in the closing seconds of the game.

The South Koreans led twice through their Brazilian striker Eninho, but Adelaide drew level both times to take the game into extra-time.

Eninho gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at the break when he swept the ball into the roof of the net from 10 metres after a leftwing cross and a cut-back from the goal-line beyond the far post by Choi Tae-Uk.

Robbie Cornthwaite equalised in the 78th minute when he headed home Cassio’s corner from the right.

Eninho restored Jeonbuk’s lead in the 88th minute with a marvellous strike from the left-hand corner of the penalty area.

In what could be called a ‘Rafa Benitez moment’, the Koreans’ manager, Choi Kang-Hee, then substituted Eninho with a minute remaining and brought on a defender to shore up the visitors’ rearguard.

But, the move backfired badly as Adelaide equalised in the 6th minute of stoppage time to take the match into extra-time.

Adelaide won a corner and even goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic came into the opposing penalty area. Cassio floated the ball over from the right and as Galekovic clashed with his opposite number Kwon Sun-Tae just outside the 6-yard box, the ball fell invitingly in the packed goal-mouth.

Sergio Van Dijk fell over, but, while lying on his back, stretched out his leg and knocked the ball into the net with his left foot to make it 2-2, to the relief of the 12,000 home fans and the Adelaide bench.

The 30-minute period of extra-time was dramatic.

Adelaide were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Adam Hughes was brought down on the line at the edge of the box, while both sides hit the woodwork.

Six minutes into the first half of extra-time, Cassio hit the crossbar with a splendid free-kick, while in the 114th minute, a cross from Choi Tae-Uk was smacked against the underside of the Adelaide crossbar by Park Won-Jae, the ball bouncing down and back into play without crossing the line.

Adelaide’s Travis Dodd was fortunate not to receive a red card when his forearm made contact with Kang Seung-Jo’s face and the player went down, his head striking the ground in a whiplash-type reaction. The Korean was bleeding from the nose and required treatment before he could continue.

In the 115th minute, Galekovic produced a magnificent save against Kang Seung-Jo, but the ball remained in play beyond the keeper’s right-hand post. Choi Tae-Uk played it back to a team-mate, whose cross to the far post was headed home by Lee Dong-Gook for the winner.

Van Dijk glanced a header centimetres wide in the final minute, while Cassio was sent off in the last seconds after a professional foul on an opponent earned the Brazilian a second yellow card.

Adelaide had 51 per cent of possession and both sides were in the opposing half 50 per cent of the time.

Adelaide were ahead in the corner count 8 to 3, while Jeonbuk were caught off-side four times and Adelaide not once.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed, but I couldn’t be any prouder of the boys,” said Adelaide coach, Aurelio Vidmar.

“They were fantastic tonight. Right at the end there they were on their last legs and some of our boys started to cramp up, but their boys did as well.

“It was a massive effort, but unfortunately, we fell just a bit short.”

1 comment:

zlatko belanic said...

I was at the game and honestly the Korean team was different class.We nearly stole the result and the only weak link they had was their `keeper. It took too long for us to realise this for some reason!?!?Their passing ,control,and flair left us in the dark most of the night!Once Flores went off we had no one who could hold the ball and the result flattering in the end.