Adelaide United set out to prove a point and delivered with an outstanding 2-1 away win over Uzbekistan champions Bunyodkor to open their Asian Champions League campaign.
The Reds went into the match in Tashkent in horrid domestic form, beaten in their past three games and victorious in just one of their past 10.
Languishing second from bottom place in the A-League, Adelaide displayed tremendous tenacity and discipline on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
Nigel Boogard scored with a header from a corner in the 12th minute and fellow defender Antony Golec netted from a superb counterattack in the 53rd minute.
They created the better chances in the first hour, but Adelaide goalkeeper and captain Eugene Galekovic made some important saves in the final half hour as Bunyodkor tried desperately to hit back.
Substitute Kamoliddin Murzoev scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Bunyodkor, who have won the Uzbekistan title for the past four seasons.
“I think it was important that we stayed focused throughout the game and we had a game plan and it worked quite well,” Boogard told AAP from Tashkent.
“It was pleasing that all the boys really dug deep to get a result.
“Coming into the Champions League, obviously off a poor season so far, we really wanted to start afresh and prove that we’re better than we’ve been performing in the A-League, so it’s a great thing to start this campaign off with a win.
“Now hopefully, we can take this back into the A-League as well.”
Adelaide left their imports, including Dutch striker Sergio van Dijk, on the bench with Bruce Djite the sole man up front.
More match fit than Bunyodkor, whose season is about to start, Adelaide played with admirable composure on a poor pitch where divots were constantly being churned up.
“To be honest, the pitch wasn’t great,” Boogard said.
Left-sided Socceroo star David Carney was making his debut for Bunyodkor and was generally well contained by the Reds.
He had a number of shots, most of them well off target, before he was substituted in the 64th minute.