Adelaide United FC’s squad has arrived in Tashkent justifiably weary but in high spirits ahead of Wednesday night’s do-or-die AFC Champions League Quarter Final 2nd Leg against Bunyodkor.
After a smooth and uneventful trip that began in Adelaide at 9am on Sunday morning and included stops via Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok en route to Uzbekistan, the Reds’ travelling party touched down in Tashkent at 3.30am local time.
Despite their middle of the night arrival, it almost proved a blessing in disguise as the Reds snuck into the Uzbek capital, attracting little media or public attention and having the benefit of travelling to the team hotel through the deserted Tashkent streets.
“It was a good trip. We got in here nice and early at about 4am so I think the main concern is to get some sleep in and rest up,” midfielder Fabian Barbiero said.
“We’ve got a couple of days to acclimatise and get used to the time difference, so we’ll have a sleep and then have a training session later this afternoon.”
“The flights were all smooth so the boys are ready to rock ‘n roll.”
The players awoke to a beautiful autumn day in Tashkent, the weather similar to the conditions in Adelaide before they left, and the squad will have a training run on the Jar Reserves field late this afternoon.
Just as importantly as rest and recuperation, the efforts of local Adelaide chefs Camillo Cruganle and Danny Anastasi, who also travelled over with the squad, to leave no stone unturned in ensuring the best hygiene and food preparation during the Reds' stay is also a crucial ingredient if United are to succeed when it matters.
While there are still two days to go until the match, if the journey so far is anything to go by, the early signs are looking promising for Adelaide United when the time comes to get down to the business of securing the result the club needs to progress to the Semi Finals.
The 2-2 draw in the 1st Leg means a win by any score would see the Reds go through, while another 2-2 draw would see the tie go into extra time and possibly a penalty shootout. If the teams played out a more improbable 3-3 draw, Adelaide United would go through on the away goals rule, which stipulates if scores are tied at the end of the two legs, an away goal would be worth two to decide the winner on aggregate.
Kick-Off for Wednesday night’s game is at 7.00pm local time (11.30pm ACST).