Reds hang on after ruing missed chances

Adelaide United FC was left to contemplate what might have been but at the same time breathing a sigh of relief after a 2-2 draw with Bunyodkor in an intriguing 1st Leg of their AFC Champions League Quarter Final.

Adelaide United FC was left to contemplate what might have been but at the same time breathing a sigh of relief after a 2-2 draw with Bunyodkor in an intriguing 1st Leg of their AFC Champions League Quarter Final.

In a dynamite opening 35 minutes, the Reds scored twice and should have added at least two more goals as they completely dominated proceedings.

However, the sending off of defender Nigel Boogaard in the 42nd minute opened the door for the team from Uzbekistan and they scored from the ensuing free kick before equalising with 15 minutes to go. Boogaard-s straight red card means he will miss the 2nd Leg in Tashkent.

While the Reds will be disappointed not to have put the game to bed in the opening half, in the end the result could well have gone the other way.

Only some outstanding and desperate last ditch defending from a ten man United outfit plus a host of exceptional saves from Eugene Galekovic prevented the home side from going into the 2nd Leg with a deficit.

Confronting a match hardened Bunyodkor, the Reds found themselves two up inside 16 minutes.

The first goal came when an off target side footed effort from Dario Vidosic fell invitingly into the path of Iain Ramsay, who managed to guide his shot past Bunyodkor keeper Ignatiy Nesterov.

The Reds were running rampant as they picked holes in the Bunyodkor defence at will, Fabian Barbiero only denied by the fingertips of Nesterov who did enough to force the ball onto the post.

But from the ensuing Vidosic corner, it created havoc in the Bunyodkor penalty area and Evan Kostopoulos required two bites of the cherry to leave no doubt that he had scored his first official goal for the club and doubled the Reds- lead after his initial shot was cleared from on or over the goal line.

An audacious set piece in the 28th minute which saw Ramsay teed the ball up for Vidosic to hit a dipping free kick again forced the best out of Nesterov, before the home side had loud shouts for handball turned down in the 33rd minute.

Boogaard and debutant Daniel Bowles were even getting in on the act but were unable to punish the team from Tashkent further, and in the 42nd minute these misses suddenly became costly as Boogaard was given his marching orders for being deemed to be the last defender as he tried to stop a Bunyodkor counter attack.

Jasur Khasanov then brought Bunyodkor back in the game on the scoreboard as his pinpoint free kick found the top corner to give the visitors a sniff with an extra man advantage for the second half.

From the resumption, it was Bunyodkor making the running with a spring in their step, proving it would be a serious test of the 10-man Reds- mettle, both physically and mentally.

Galekovic pulled a save out of the top drawer to keep out Turaev in the 50th minute, Vidosic making way for Antony Golec as the Reds looked to strengthen their defence.

But in the 75th minute Bunyodkor were on level terms as a ball from the left hand side somehow beat three United players in the area, Salomov slightest of touches enough to see the ball find the back of the net.

Substitute Jeronimo Neumann did his best to inspire the Reds, but the majority of the action in the dying stages was in the Reds- defence, some more Galekovic brilliance and a goal saving block from Golec keeping Bunyodkor at bay to leave the tie delicately poised going into the 2nd Leg in Tashkent on October 3.

Match Details Adelaide United FC 2 (Ramsay 7-, Kostopoulos 16-) Bunyodkor 2 (Khasanov 44-, Salomov 75-) Referee: Al Hilali Abdullah Mohamed Masoud (Oman) Crowd: 10,366 @ Hindmarsh Stadium

Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 6.CASSIO, 10.Dario VIDOSIC (12.Antony GOLEC 53-), 11.Bruce DJITE (9.Sergio VAN DIJK 74-), 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Daniel BOWLES, 17.Iain RAMSAY (21.Jeronimo NEUMANN 81-), 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 22.Iain FYFE, 23.Evan KOSTOPOULOS

Substitutes not used: 2.Osama MALIK, 19.Jake BARKER-DAISH, 27.Jordan ELSEY, 30.Paul IZZO (gk) Yellow Cards: Fyfe 48-, Kostopoulos 59- Red Cards: Boogaard 42-

Bunyodkor line-up: 1.Ignatiy NESTEROV (gk), 2.Akmal SHORAKHMEDOV, 4.Hayrulla KARIMOV, 6.Anvar GAFUROV, 8.Jovlon IBROKHIMOV, 13.Lutfulla TURAEV, 16.Artyom FILIPOSYAN, 17.Kamoliddin MURZOEV (20.Anvarjon SOLIEV 76-), 18.Slavoljub DJORDJEVIC, 19.Jasur KHASANOV, 22.Victor KARPENKO (c) (9.Ilkhom SHOMURODOV 83-), 33.Jan KOZAK (10.Shavkat SALOMOV 66-)

Substitutes not used: 23.Sakhob JURAEV, 24.Bahodir PARDAEV, 28.Ruslan MELZIDDINOV, 45.Akbar TURAEV (gk) Yellow Cards: Karimov 47-, Murzoev 73- Red Cards: Nil