The last time Adelaide United FC met Bunyodkor in the Knockout Stage of the AFC Champions League, the Reds set up an almost unassailable lead after the 1st Leg at home, and heading into Wednesday night’s Quarter Final opener at Hindmarsh Stadium, Coach John Kosmina will be hoping for a similar story.
On that night back in 2008, a packed house helped the Reds to a stirring victory, and another parochial home crowd on Wednesday would again go a long way to giving United an edge.
Wednesday night’s game will be the sixth meeting between two teams that have built up an intriguing ACL rivalry, the Reds holding a record of two wins, a draw and a loss against the more highly fancied Uzbek club.
Despite the Reds and Bunyodkor facing off against each other earlier this year in the Group Stage of the competition, they were draw to meet again in the Quarter Finals.
Positively for the Reds, they have tasted victory over Bunyodkor previously and this is something Kosmina believes his team can draw upon, especially with the 1st Leg being in Adelaide.
“There is a bit of history between the two clubs, not just in the last few months either, it goes back a few years,” Kosmina said.
“So hopefully that’ll work in our favour, especially having the game at home, I think that helps a hell of a lot.”
In terms of who Kosmina will take into the clash, playmaker Dario Vidosic remains ‘touch and go’ on whether he will be available on Wednesday night, while Argentine Jeronimo Neumann completed a full session to put his hand up for selection.
Following the squad’s training this morning, Vidosic is rated just better than a fifty-fifty chance of recovering from a hamstring injury, Kosmina willing to give the influential midfielder until the very last minute to prove his fitness.
“He (Vidosic) only had a small tear and it was not across the muscle so that’s a good thing…the doctors say it’s not too bad,” Kosmina said.
Although the Reds have had to play a host of pre season trial matches to prepare as the Hyundai A-League has yet to kick off, Kosmina can be pleased with his team’s progress to a game that has been in their sights on the horizon for a number of months.
The Reds’ coaching staff has also been doing their homework on Bunyodkor, but Kosmina has been around football long enough to know that ultimately it is about the Reds controlling what they can control.
“We know what they (Bunyodkor) play like. They’re not going to be too dissimilar to how the way they were against us or Seongnam in their Round of 16 game, so it’s about how we go about our business and make sure we get our house in order first,” Kosmina said.
“You can practise tactics all you want, the fact is that on the day if something doesn’t quite work or someone is not on their game or they might have a players who’s on fire, you’ve got to adapt sometimes and make decisions out on the park as you go – that’s what sport is all about.”
Meanwhile, Bunyodkor’s Australian connection, former Sydney FC midfielder David Carney, did not make the trip over from Tashkent and will not line up on Wednesday night.
Without Carney in the travelling party, Kosmina believes it adds another element of uncertainty as the Reds plot a way to take an advantage into the decisive 2nd Leg in Uzbekistan on October 3.
“That means they’ll be an unknown quantity because we know what David (Carney) is like as a player,” Kosmina said.
“He’s versatile so with him not being here it means there is someone new we have to worry about.”
Kick-Off is at 7.30pm ACST and tickets are available through Ticketek.