Reds in box seat but not there yet

Last night’s gripping victory has Adelaide United in a prime position to progress to the AFC Champions League Round of 16, but it is not guaranteed just yet.

Last night-s gripping victory over the Pohang Steelers has put Adelaide United in a prime position to progress to the AFC Champions League Round of 16, but it not guaranteed just yet.

In the two past ACL campaigns when the Reds finished top of their group and gone through the Group Stage, they finished with ten points in 2010 and an impressive 14 in 2008.

Focusing back on the present, the shape of Group E with two match days remaining sees the Reds in front on nine points followed by Bunyodkor and Pohang on six and Gamba Osaka three points further adrift.

In the final wash up, the win over Pohang could prove crucial in the context of not only the Reds qualifying as one of the top two teams in the group but also securing a valuable home fixture in the Round of 16.

Once the six match days have been completed, the top side from the group will host a Round of 16 match against the runners-up from another group.

But while their third win from four starts in this year-s competition has United on the cusp of progressing and relieved some of the tension, goal scorer Bruce Djite said the Reds could ill-afford to now ret on their laurels and think the job is done.

“I think the pressure is off but I think it-s also important to not take our foot off the pedal,” Djite said.

“We-ve set ourselves up well, we-re in the box seat and I think it-s important that we keep this momentum going into the next game against Bunyodkor at home.”

The team from Uzbekistan were the other big winners of Group E in Match Day 4 as they held on to defeat Gamba Osaka 3-2 at home and move up to second on the table ahead of Pohang on goal difference.

With only three points separating the Reds from Bunyodkor and Pohang, Match Day 5 on May 2 is poised to be the most defining yet in Group E.

The fixtures for the one-off knockout Round of 16 involving Group E will see the winners of Group E host the runners-up from Group G, while the second placed team in Group E will head on the road to tackle the winners of Group G.