Adelaide United’s squad is home following their successful trip to Tashkent.
The tiredness that comes with spending almost 20 hours on a plane was still not enough to keep the smiles from the faces of Adelaide United-s squad as the Reds arrived home following their successful trip to Tashkent.
Captain Eugene Galekovic epitomized the feeling amongst the players as he spoke to the media after touching down, the delight in his voice evident after the Reds opened their AFC Champions League 2012 account with a memorable 2-1 away win over Uzbekistan league winners Bunyodkor.
One of only four in the current Reds squad that played against Bunyodkor in Tashkent back in the Semi Final 2nd leg of the 2008 AFC Champions League, a game the Reds lost 1-nil, Galekovic knows just how significant and momentous the result on Tuesday night was.
“It-s massive to be honest. Tashkent is not an easy place to go and get three points, so to come back with three points and start the ACL on that note, it-s great for the team-s confidence and the boys are rapt,” a weary but buoyant Galekovic said.
“It was a long trip back and now we-ve got to focus our attention on Sunday against Brisbane, which is going to be another tough game.”
If there was a positive to come out of the long journey home, it was that it gave the Reds time to savour the result, as now that they are back the attention turns immediately back to the Hyundai A-League and a clash with reigning champions Brisbane Roar on Sunday in Brisbane.
With only two full days before the match against the Roar which will see them jet off again on Saturday afternoon, it is sure to test the Reds- resolve.
While the travel factor and need to backup for another game in a short space of time is something Galekovic acknowledges, he is not going to start complaining about it or using as an excuse for the Reds to put in any less of an effort than the committed and disciplined one they showed in Uzbekistan.
“That (the travel) is probably going to be the most difficult thing about it - coming back and then travelling again in a couple of days to play one of the top teams in the league,” Galekovic said.
“But we-ve just got to deal with it and do our best on Sunday.”
Progressing past the AFC Champions League Group Stage may now be Adelaide United-s top priority due to the Hyundai A-League finals being out of reach, but Galekovic says the Reds will definitely not be taking their three remaining domestic games lightly.
Coach John Kosmina stated the Reds would use their final three games, against fellow AFC Champions League participants Brisbane and the Central Coast Mariners before closing their season against Melbourne Heart, to work on how they want to play in their upcoming ACL matches.
In addition to that, Galekovic can find another worthwhile reason why the Reds will be doing everything they can to win and not taking their foot off the pedal.
“We-ve got two A-League games now (before the next ACL match), obviously we can-t make the finals but we still want to climb up the table as much as we can and it would be good to get ahead of Melbourne (Victory) who are only three points ahead of us,” Galekovic said.
For all Reds fans, that is surely enough of an incentive not to dismiss the Hyundai A-League season until the end.
Adelaide United-s squad will train tomorrow and again on Saturday morning at Hindmarsh Stadium before flying out for Brisbane on Saturday afternoon ahead of Sunday-s match with the Roar. Kick-Off at Suncorp Stadium is at 4.30pm ACDT.