Coach John Kosmina has reiterated just how valuable it is to end the Group Stage on top.
Less than 48 hours before the Reds depart for Japan ahead of Wednesday night-s match against Gamba Osaka, Coach John Kosmina has reiterated just how valuable it is to end the Group Stage on top.
The Reds head into the final AFC Champions League Group Stage Match Day one point in front of the Pohang Steelers, the outcome of Group E set to come down to the results of Adelaide United-s game away to Gamba and Pohang-s meeting with Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan.
A win in Osaka would cement the Reds in first place regardless of the result in the other clash, and give Kosmina-s men a home game in the knockout Round of 16.
While the initial task of progressing past the Group Stage has been achieved, Kosmina knows the Reds- aspirations to reach the ACL Quarter Finals for the second time will be aided significantly if they host a Round of 16 match at Hindmarsh rather than having the task of trying to win away.
“It-s super important. I just said that to the boys, we-ve got to get a result there (in Osaka) to get a game here and that gives us every chance of making the quarter finals,” Kosmina said.
Generally, trying to defeat Gamba Osaka in Japan would prove highly daunting and a near impossible challenge to conquer, but the J-League club-s standing at the bottom of Group E with just one win reflects a contrast of the formidable force they have become known as in Asia.
Unable to make the Round of 16, Gamba will be hoping to go out on a high note and give their home fans something to cheer about in their final appearance in the 2012 competition.
This scenario may point clearly in Adelaide United-s favour as the Reds have more to play for, but Kosmina is not getting drawn in Gamba being about to do his team any favours.
“They (Gamba) are a good side and they-ve got a lot of respect in Asia and they-re not going to come out next Wednesday night and play to lose - no professional team does,” Kosmina said.
“We-ve got to go there in the frame of mind that we-ve got to get a result, it doesn-t matter that we-ve already qualified, we-ve got to get a result.”
For the match, Kosmina revealed Iain Fyfe would likely make his first start of the competition to fill the gap left by the injured Osama Malik, but he is still undecided which striker he will start with up front.
Bruce Djite has started in all five of the previous Group Stage matches, scoring the crucial late winner over Pohang back on April 18, while Sergio van Dijk has shown impressive form in United-s recent friendly matches against a number of local clubs.
“I-m still tossing up between Bruce and Serge, they-ve both trained well this week,” Kosmina said.
“It-s a hard call because like I said before, I loathe change for the sake of change - when things are working you minimise your changes.”
The Reds- only previous trip to Osaka saw them go down 3-0 to Gamba in the 1st leg of the 2008 AFC Champions League Final, but Kosmina will see this as a good a time as any for Adelaide United to reverse the score.
Adelaide United-s travelling squad departs for Osaka on Sunday morning.