Captain Eugene Galekovic believes there is a quiet confidence amongst the Reds heading into Tuesday night's match against the Pohang Steelers.
Adelaide United FC captain Eugene Galekovic believes there is a quiet confidence amongst the Reds that they can maintain their spot at the top of Group E and continue an impressive record over one of the K-League powerhouses when it faces the Pohang Steelers on Tuesday night in Match Day 3 of the AFC Champions League.
Of the four times they have met previously, which came in the Group Stages of the 2008 and 2010 competitions, the Reds have recorded three wins and a draw over the South Korean club.
While both teams may have changed considerably since then and the outcomes of previous encounters count for little once the players cross the white line, Galekovic said these past results have this Reds squad holding no fears of heading to the Pohang Steelyard and firmly believing another positive result is not out of the question.
“The boys are quietly confident going into the game. Obviously we-ve been to Pohang a few times and got some good results so the boys are looking forward to it and hopefully we can still be on top of the table come Wednesday,” Galekovic said.
“We-ve had good results in the past and it does bring a bit of belief into the team. Starting this competition well just breeds confidence and every time you get results it breeds more confidence.”
Two wins from as many starts in this AFC Champions League campaign has the Reds three points clear in Group E and the team to catch.
For the most part of their years in the AFC Champions League, metaphorically the Reds have been the Davids trying to take down the Goliaths. But while the margin between the Reds and their opponents in the ACL in terms of resources, finances and squad numbers reamins a gaping one, it is the Australian club that finds itself being the hunted.
“Obviously we do have six points and teams are looking to beat us so they can be in the race for the top two and Pohang is no different,” Galekovic said.
“They know that if they beat us they-re going to be equal top so we probably are the hunted now, which is different because we-re used to flying under the radar.”
They may have flown under the radar before, but Adelaide United-s registered head coach for the AFC Champions League, Luciano Trani, is fully aware that Pohang will not be taking the Reds lightly tomorrow night.
Trani is expecting a rampant Pohang who will have the added incentives of reversing their poor record against Adelaide United and making amends for their home loss to Bunyodkor a fortnight ago.
Pohang have rebounded since that defeat with wins in their domestic competition and Coach Hwang Sun-hong declared he will field his strongest possible side against the Reds, although it might not include star Ghanaian import Derek Asamoah who is under an injury cloud. But whether Asamoah plays or not, Trani knows the Reds will have their work cut out.
“Pohang has a number of quality players and we respect them as a side,” Trani said.
“They-ve had a couple of good wins of late in the K-League and we-ll need to be on our game to get a result tomorrow.”
“We-re expecting them to come and play an attacking game, so we-ve got to be very strong from a defending point of view and that-s something we-ve got to understand, that they (Pohang) need to win to be equal on points with us, so their expectations are going to be high but at the same time we-ve got to see the opportunities that we might have throughout the game to get a result.”
Pleasingly for the Reds, there are no issues on the injury front, influential midfielder Dario Vidosic a certain starter after he trained fully in both of the Reds- training sessions in Pohang, showing no signs of the hamstring problem that he has been hampering him.
AFC Champions League 2012 - Match Day 3 Pohang Steelers (KOR) v Adelaide United FC (AUS) Tuesday 3 April 2012, Pohang Steelyard Kick-Off: 8.30pm ACST
TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports Twitter: twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #ACLaumd3)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Osama MALIK, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce DJITE, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Francisco USUCAR, 22.Iain FYFE, 23.Evan KOSTOPOULOS
Adelaide United v Pohang Steelers - HEAD TO HEAD RECORD Played 4 - Adelaide United 3 wins, Pohang Steelers 0 wins, 1 Draw