Nagoya boss carries utmost respect for Reds

It may be another case of David against Goliath but Nagoya Grampus Coach Dragan Stojkovic will certainly not be underestimating the Reds tonight.

It may be another case of David against Goliath but Nagoya Grampus Coach Dragan Stojkovic will certainly not be underestimating the Reds tonight.

Speaking at the official pre match media conference, Nagoya-s Serbian coach is wary of the giant killing Reds, particularly at home, and knows the J-League club will be up against it to crack a United team that won four of its six matches in the Group Stage and conceded just two goals.

“I don-t have any doubt about Adelaide being a team that is a very strong and tough opponent and it is going to be a very hard game for us,” Stoijkovic said.

“I respect their results and Adelaide as a team. They are a team that is able to produce good football but it-s not just about the physical potential of the team, it-s a team that plays patient football who looks to build up and wait for the chances to score, but we will do our best tomorrow to produce good football and get a good result.”

Going into Nagoya-s third Round of 16 encounter - the J-League club making it past the Group Stage each time they have competed in the ACL, Stoijkovic also signalled out United number ten Dario Vidosic as one player Nagoya would have to keep a close check on and nullify his influence.

“The physical dominance also exists but we will also focus on our own game to produce our own style, so we will see tomorrow, but Vidosic is a guy who has a magic touch so we have to be very careful about that,” Stoijkovic said.

One thing Stoijkovic is not expecting is for the Reds to spring any major surprises with their method and how they go about it tonight.

The element of surprise has not been a tool the Reds have used to topple big name Asian clubs this year. Rather it has been a stern discipline and the ability of every player on the field knowing their roles and executing them to a tee.

“I-m not expecting too many surprises from their side but also no surprises from our side, we know that Adelaide has good pace, is very patient, it is not easy to defend when they put four or five players at the near post so you have to fight well to defend your goal,” Stoijkovic said.

The polite and well spoken Stoijkovic also heralded Adelaide as a city, the Serbian returning to the city of churches after spending time in the South Australian capital back in 1997 for a training camp during his playing days with Nagoya.

“First of all, it-s very clean, quiet, blue skies, you-re very lucky to be in Adelaide and I-m very happy to be here 15 years later,” Stoijkovic said.

Four draws from six matches saw the J-League club finish second on goal difference behind Seongnam Ilhwa in the Group Stage, Nagoya-s most convincing performance coming in a final day 3-0 home triumph over the Central Coast Mariners. Marcus Tulio Tanaka, Jungo Fujimoto and Keiji Tamada all found the back of the net that night, and along with Qantas Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy, they will take some stopping if the Reds are to be in front when it matters.

In contrast to their ACL form, which has seen them concede just four goals so far and go undefeated, Nagoya-s recent form on the domestic scene has not been the best as they have slipped to 13th on the J-League table after losing four of their past five games.

But just as Stoijkovic expressed his wariness of the opposition, Adelaide United Assistant Coach Luciano Trani is also under no elusions about the calibre of what the Reds are coming up against.

“Their key strengths are that they have good attacking combinations in the front third of the pitch, especially around the edge of the penalty area and I think it is the set plays where they are also extremely dangerous,” Trani said.

Gauging from both coaches, there is a fair chance of a cagey opening tonight, but with no tomorrow for the loser, it could well come down to which team holds their nerve and makes the most of the chances when it counts.

For more information on Nagoya Grampus, check out the team profile page on the AFC Champions League website or the official Nagoya Grampus website at nagoya-grampus.jp .