A spirited performance from Adelaide United was not enough to overcome Jiangsu Suning as the Reds suffered a 2-1 defeat in their second AFC Champions League Group H match.
Brazilian forward Alex Teixeira orchestrated the win for the home side, netting a decisive brace to separate the two sides at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre.
However, the Reds pushed Jiangsu right until the final whistle as Eli Babalj headed home a stoppage time goal after a sensational cross from Tarek Elrich.
Earlier, Elrich was refused a goal when he was belatedly ruled offside for a classy volley in what was a tight call.
There were three changes made to the side from the loss against Melbourne Victory by Head Coach, Guillermo Amor. Nikola Mileusnic returned to the wing at the expense of Ben Garuccio, while Taylor Regan replaced Ben Warland in the heart of the defence. Jordan O’Doherty also featured in the midfield.
The opening five minutes saw Adelaide retain possession of the ball with the likes of Sergio Cirio and Baba Diawara enjoying some nice touches.
But as Jiangsu got into the clash, the hosts would begin to dominate and appear threatening when marauding forward.
After Yang Xiaotian was fouled, Teixeira’s ensuing free-kick caused havoc inside the Adelaide box, as a goal-mouth scramble culminated in Xie Pengfei hammering the upright.
But Adelaide’s resistance would be breached when Daniel Margush fumbled Ramires’ effort, allowing Teixeira to poke home the rebound on 14 minutes.
Reds defenders Taylor Regan and Dylan McGowan were resolute throughout the encounter committing several standing tackles to stop Jiangsu’s forwards in their tracks.
Nikola Mileusnic, who was lively during the game, clipped in a ball to Baba Diawara but the striker mistimed his acrobatic attempt midway through the first stanza.
Trailing at the break, Adelaide started the second-half on the front foot, dominating possession as Jiangsu began to sit back and absorb pressure.
Stand-in skipper Elrich, illustrated his dynamism and determination – tracking back to defend while also galloping forward to provide an attacking option on the flank.
On 69 minutes, Ben Garuccio delivered a defence-splitting ball into the box, but despite Mileusnic’s best efforts, he was unable to divert the leather on target.
Two minutes later, Adelaide thought they had equalised when an unmarked Elrich steered his volley past the Jiangsu goalkeeper. Yet after a slight delay, the full-back was adjudged to be in an offside position.
And Jiangsu would immediately make it 2-0 through Teixeira, following an electric individual run. The former Shakhtar Donetsk man received the ball near the half-line before darting at the Reds’ rearguard to clinically finish past Margush.
United continued to press and managed to halve the deficit courtesy of Babalj’s towering header in the 92nd minute.
Following the match, Amor praised the team’s performance, specifically the effort exhibited by the Reds.
“We know that this is a difficult game,” Amor said.
“But I’m happy for the performance and attitude of our players.
“I think we played a very good game and controlled a lot of moments and we tried to win.
“But I think the attitude of our players was fantastic.”
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
AFC Champions League Group H – Matchday Two
Jiangsu Suning 2 (Teixeira 14’ 72’)
Adelaide United 1 (90’+2’)
Venue: Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre