Adelaide United FC’s successful squad has arrived home after a Group Stage campaign that was as impressive as it was astonishing.
Adelaide United FC-s successful squad has arrived home from Osaka, Coach John Kosmina cutting an upbeat figure after the Reds completed a Group Stage campaign that was as impressive as it was astonishing.
Not for the first time, an Adelaide United squad has returned home at the conclusion of the Group Stage as the toast of Australian football in Asia after topping its group.
Wednesday night-s 2-0 victory over 2008 AFC Champions League winners Gamba Osaka left the Reds with four wins, a draw and a loss from their six matches to see them finish three points clear of second placed Bunyodkor.
Few would have thought such an outcome possible after the Reds- disappointing Hyundai A-League season coupled with being pitted in a group consisting of such a high calibre of clubs.
But just as Adelaide United did in the 2010 edition of the prestigious Asian club competition after finishing bottom of the ladder in the previous Hyundai A-League season, the Reds again find themselves hosting a Round of 16 match at Hindmarsh after finishing top of their group.
It is an achievement Kosmina believes is a testament to the fabric of his players through their commitment to make something of their ACL campaign.
“Winning builds confidence and confidence builds wins I suppose as well,” Kosmina said upon the team-s arrival this morning.
“Winning is a good habit to develop but is easy to break. Losing is a hard habit to break…and the fact that these guys have really knuckled down and worked at getting something out of this and retrieving the season they had says a lot about their character.”
“The boys have got a spring in their step. You look at the way we started the game (against Gamba). I think we had the ball for the first minute, they never had a touch, we made a few chances and it was really good.”
As Kosmina reflected on the Reds progressing past the Group Stage for a third time from four showings in the ACL, he reiterated the magnitude of what the club has accomplished and tried to put into perspective what is does for the standing of not only the city of Adelaide but football in Australia.
“We-ve knocked off two previous champions to get to where we are at the moment and in terms of Adelaide-s name in Asia, it-s massive,” Kosmina said.
“You talk about Australia in Asia and people talk about Adelaide, they don-t talk about Australia, they talk about Adelaide, so from that perspective it-s fantastic.”
But while the plaudits are coming from far and wide for now, Kosmina knows it will count for nothing if they cannot get past Nagoya Grampus in the knockout Round of 16 on May 29 and make it through to the Quarter Finals in September.
Despite a final day 3-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners, Nagoya could only manage second spot in Group G and will now come to Adelaide to try and topple the Reds.
“It-s a cautious confidence, we-re quietly confident but Nagoya are a good team,” Kosmina said of his side-s next assignment.
“They demolished the Central Coast the other night, although I do think the Central Coast were a little bit unlucky, they could have got back into the game but didn-t take their chances and paid a price for that in the end, but it is going to be a tough game.”
“I guess the important thing is we got that win the other night which gives us the home advantage.”
Having claimed the scalps of Bunyodkor, Pohang and Gamba Osaka in the Group Stage, Kosmina was hit with the question of just how far this Reds team can go. For now, it is a question the United boss refuses to get caught up in.
“Ask me that in two weeks and I-ll tell you,” Kosmina said.
“At the moment we-ve got to beat Nagoya and that-s all we-re thinking about, the rest of it is pie in the sky stuff.”
Tickets for the May 29 match go on sale to Adelaide United 2011/12 season ticket holders and members at 12pm on Monday 21 May 2012 before going on sale to the general public from 9am, Thursday 24 May 2012. Tickets will be available through Ticketek.