What must happen for Adelaide to reach last 16 of ACL

Baba Diawara’s last-gasp equalising header in the Reds’ 3-3 draw to Gamba Osaka on Anzac Day ensured Adelaide still have a chance of qualifying for the AFC Champions League 2017 knockout stages.

However, fate is out of Adelaide’s hands if United are to reach the last 16 – for an Australian record fourth time in Asia’s premier club competition –  with several permutations potentially occurring on the final matchday of Group H.

As it currently stands in Group H after five games, Jiangsu Suning have guaranteed top spot with 12 points. Though following Jeju United’s 2-1 away victory over Jiangsu on matchday five, the South Korean outfit moved into second place with seven points.

Adelaide’s matchday five draw saw the Club drop to third on the table with five points, while Gamba remain bottom on four points.

Therefore, in order for Guillermo Amor’s men to advance from the group they must beat the already qualified Jiangsu on May 9 at Hindmarsh Stadium and hope Jeju drop points against Gamba in Korea.

If Jeju lose to Gamba and Adelaide claim the three points they will supersede the K-League club in second spot by a point.

However, if the islanders draw and the South Australians are triumphant, Adelaide will still progress to the round of 16, despite being level on eight points each. This is due to Amor’s troops boasting a superior head-to-head record over their Korean opponents.

Meanwhile, for the Reds’ clash with the Chinese side next Tuesday night, Adelaide will be bolstered with the returning trio of Dylan McGowan, Taylor Regan and Riley McGree from suspension.

But after Jordan O’Doherty received a second yellow card of the group against Gamba, he will miss the do-or-die encounter.

For Jiangsu, Tao Yuan and ex-Chelsea midfielder Ramires are out for the match as a result of accumulating too many yellow cards as well.

Adelaide United host Jiangsu Suning in their final AFC Champions League 2017 group stage match on Tuesday, 9 May at Hindmarsh Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.30pm ACST.