Adelaide beat Nagoya in ACL knockout
Defender Jon McKain scored as Adelaide United downed Japan’s Nagoya Grampus 1-0 on Tuesday night to advance into the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League.
McKain’s lucky opening half goal ensured Adelaide moved into the final eight of the lucrative Asian competition – just weeks after failing to reach the finals of the domestic A-League.
McKain scored in the 41st minute of the knockout Hindmarsh Stadium fixture through good fortune more than good planning.
A Dario Vidosic curler bobbled in the box with Nagoya defenders scrambling for control, when the ball deflected towards McKain near the goal line.
The defender, who was deposed midseason as Adelaide captain in favour of Eugene Galekovic, appeared to luckily shin the ball, with little control, over the line to delight the 9,758-strong Adelaide crowd.
The breakthrough came after an earlier miracle save by Galekovic denied the highly-rated J-League outfit an opener.
The Adelaide skipper appeared to be beaten by a header from Josh Kennedy in the 33rd minute when the Socceroo striker found a slither of space a metre out.
His header was angled into goal, only for Galekovic to thrust out his left glove, which was behind his diving body when he deflected the ball from danger.
Galekovic, who kept four clean sheets as Adelaide topped their group in the rich Asian competition, produced another reflex top shelf save in the 63rd minute to maintain Adelaide’s lead.
Some 20 minutes later, Reds midfielder Fabian Barbiero blew a gilt-edged chance to double Adelaide’s advantage when he chipped over the bar with only the ‘keeper to beat.
And striker Sergio van Dijk belted a 20 metre blast into the cross bar in the 87th minute.
Adelaide, superbly served by left winger Iain Ramsay and playmaker Vidosic, booked a quarter-final berth against an as-yet undetermined opponent.
Adelaide United assistant coach Luciano Trani said making the quarter-finals was an “undescribable” (sic) achievement for the club.
“The team is coming together very well and now that we continue on, it’s about having that little bit more depth in our play,” Trani said.
Nagoya Grampus coach Dragan Stojkovic said his team failed to capitalise on their scoring chances.
“We were not good enough … we don’t know how to score the goal and we paid the price,” he said.© AAP 2013
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