Adelaide out of ACL amid Amor conjecture

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    Adelaide United were knocked out of the Asian Champions League with a 1-0 loss to China’s Jiangsu Suning on Tuesday night.

    The Reds needed to win and also for Jeju United not to gain any points from a simultaneous fixture.

    But coupled with their defeat, South Korea’s Jeju downed Gamba Osaka 2-0 to advance to the round of 16.

    Adelaide finished third in the group, some five points shy of Jeju, after an Asian campaign which returned one win, three draws and three losses.

    Before 6797 spectators at Coopers Stadium, the Reds bossed a second-string Jiangsu – the visitors left their stars at home, having already sewn up top spot in the group.

    But a wayward Adelaide couldn’t land a punch despite basking in 71 per cent possession and recording 20 shots to six – including nine to one in the opening half.

    The Reds fluffed a succession of chances – Riley McGree, Nikola Mileusnic, Sergio Cirio, Baba Diawara and Kim Jae-sung all sprayed shots wide, while Diawara also hit the post with a header.

    McGree also had an early gilt-edged chance denied when, just five metres from goal but on his non-preferred right foot, his shot was superbly saved by Jiansgu goalkeeper Jiang Hao.

    The visitors, with imports Alex Teixeira and Roger Martinez at home and missing Brazilian international Ramires because of suspension, relied exclusively on counter-attacks.

    And, on 81 minutes, they made Adelaide pay for their lack of finishing polish – a common theme in the Reds’ lousy domestic campaign as well – when Ji Xiang scored with a sweet left-footer from 15 metres out.

    Adelaide’s focus now turns to signings – they have 16 players about to fall off contract and a coach, Guillermo Amor, who is weighing up his future.

    Amor evaded questions about whether he will continue as coach next season, insisting post-match was not the time.

    But the Barcelona great said he couldn’t criticise his players for their display against Jiangsu.

    “We play very well, it’s impossible to say something negative about our game,” he said.

    © AAP 2017

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