Adelaide United have recorded a massive 3-1 away win over Jeju United to keep alive their ambitions of qualification to the round of 16.
Kim Jae-sung’s thumping long-range goal was instantly cancelled out by a Magno Cruz, before a determined second-half performance saw Dylan McGowan and Riley McGree give the Reds a courageous victory.
The Reds fought extremely hard and survived a barrage of Jeju attacks, but it did come at a cost with three players missing the match against Gamba Osaka due to the accumulation of yellow cards.
Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, made three changes from the starting line-up from the defeat to Melbourne City on Friday. Kim Jae-sung replaced Marcelo Carrusca in midfield, Taylor Regan returned to the heart of defence, while Nikola Mileusnic came in for the injured Tarek Elrich.
Adelaide opened the scoring courtesy of an absolute screamer from Kim. Sergio Cirio’s initial shot rebounded off the upright, with the ball evading Nikola Mileusnic on the follow-up, but falling into the path of Kim who duly finished.
However, the advantage immediately disappeared when Magno Cruz headed home off a cross to restore parity.
Ahn Hyun-beom was wasteful throughout the encounter, though caused a number of headaches for the Adelaide defence.
Meanwhile, striker Frederic Mendy provided a constant aerial threat with the hosts insistent on playing route one football. The Guinea-Bissau talisman went inches wide of finding the inside of the post with a glancing header four minutes from the break.
Adelaide, who were on the back foot for the majority of the first period, went extremely close to grabbing the ascendency on the stroke of half-time. McGowan’s forceful header was met with a great save from gloveman Lee Chang-keun, before Regan saw a shot off Cirio’s cut back almost creep into the net.
The second-half mirrored most of the first stanza, though the Reds were more adventurous going forward – knowing anything less than a win would end their hopes of qualification to the knockout stage.
And in the 49th minute McGowan rose highest score a header off Ben Garuccio’s perfectly struck corner with the goalkeeper stranded in no man’s land to make it 2-1.
The match continued to ebb and flow, with Amor’s men defending deep in numbers yet for the most part steadfastly, albeit with a bit of fortune along the way.
As the Reds did their best to contain the South Korean outfit, they remained threatening on the counter-attack. McGree would add the insurance goal after some neat build-up play involving himself and Baba Diawara, who was superb holding up the ball and offering an outlet for his teammates.
The 18-year-old’s audacious close-range finish was only partially saved with McGree quickest to react while on the floor to poke home.
Jeju threw everything at the Reds in the final few minutes, but Adelaide showed maturity and composure managing the procession of corner.
United also had Captain Eugene Galekovic to thank, who was immense late on – pulling off several sensational saves to preserve the three points.
Adelaide would gallantly hold on for the win and move into second place in Group H.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
AFC Champions League Group H – Matchday four
Jeju United 1 (Magno Cruz 8’)
Adelaide United 3 (Kim 7’ McGowan 49’ McGree 65’)
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium