ACL Play-Off Match Preview: ADLvSHD

Guillermo Amor and Eugene Galekovic say Adelaide United are not underestimating the challenge that awaits them in the Reds’ AFC Champions League (ACL) play-off against Chinese giants, Shandong Luneng Taishan.

United are currently enjoying a ten-game undefeated streak domestically, ensuring Amor’s side is brimming with confidence heading into their clash with Shandong.   

Nevertheless, the Reds are prepared for an immensely difficult contest, knowing just how important the ACL is and have all focus firmly on tonight’s match. 

And Amor has said his confidence in his players remains at an all-time high, backing their ability in overcoming their Chinese opponents in a hugely important match for the Club. 

“Shandong are an important team in China, who have good and competitive players,” Amor said. “But football is football, and tomorrow night is like a final for us.

“It is a big day for us (as players and coaches), for Adelaide, the Club and our supporters, and for Australian football in general. 

“Our players are in good condition and have trained very well.

“We have been playing very well and a lot of things depend on the result, our performance and the minds and hearts of the players, but it is possible to win, and we want to. We are ready.”

Reds Captain, Galekovic, followed on from his coach saying that United are excited to play in the ACL and are ready to win tomorrow night and progress into the Group Stages of the competition.

Galekovic also stated that he and his teammates must keep their heads in the game and not take Shandong lightly if they want the best chance of winning. 

“It’s massive to be back in the ACL,” Galekovic said. “The boys always like to play in these competitions, usually as we are the underdogs and they are big games for the Club.

“We want to win this game to get to the next stage and perform well to pass the Group Stage and further on.

“The most important thing is the game tomorrow night, and if we give a team like Shandong a slight chance they will punish us, so we have to be switched on,” 

“We’re not changing anything about our game, we are just going to play our football and give it our best shot.”

Amor and Galekovic are confident the Reds can progress past Shandong in Tuesday’s ACL play-off.

Galekovic continued by reiterating the strength of Shandong, highlighting the importance of denying them any chance that will cost the Reds.

“The biggest difference (between the A-League and the ACL) is if you make a mistake in the A-League, you might get away with it, but against a team like Shandong we will probably pay the price. 

“We have to back ourselves in keeping the ball and not turn it over, playing forward and creating something in the final third. 

“We are going to play like we normally do, and that’s keeping possession and doing something with the ball when we have it.

“We are thinking positive, and with the conditions (being warm), they might sit back and wait for chances to go forward, but we will bring our best.”

Adelaide United will face Shandong Luneng Taishan in the AFC Champions League Play-Off on Tuesday, 9 February at Hindmarsh Stadium. Kick off is at 7.30pm ACDT.​

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