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United finally fires - in a near-empty stadium


Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor is demanding more from his players after their stirring draw against Korea’s Jeju United.

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The Reds twice came from behind last night in Adelaide, in a 3-3 draw – banking their first Asian Champions League point in the process.

But the breathless stalemate was played out in front of the Reds’ smallest ever home crowd of just 3359.

While full of praise for the character of his side, Amor now wants more.

“The result is one point – we need more points,” he said.

Adelaide remarkably twice equalised within a minute of the Koreans scoring, in a match which unexpectedly caught fire – after a scoreless opening half, the six goals came in a frenzied 34-minute span.

Amor said the Reds could take great heart from their fightbacks.

“The players, it’s true that they play and work very well,” he said.

“This is football… in the moment of 1-2, and 2-3, it was difficult.”

The Reds were advantaged by a nine-day rest entering the fixture – the Koreans played in their domestic league last Saturday before travelling to Australia.

Jeju United coach Cho Sung Hwan said his players didn’t take Adelaide lightly.

“When Adelaide come to Jeju, we are going to win next time,” he said.

Adelaide, now with a draw and two losses in the Asian tournament, now turn their attention to the A-League where they are anchored in last spot ahead of Sunday’s home match against Brisbane.

Meanwhile, Western Sydney Wanderers rescued their floundering continental foray in the nick of time last night, edging the K-League giants 3-2 in Korea despite nearly blowing a three-goal lead.

The assured performance breathed life into an A-League outfit smarting from a horrid few weeks at home and abroad, where 4-0 and 5-1 ACL annihilations to Urawa Red Diamonds and Shanghai SIPG left them on the brink of an early exit.

It also restored some patriotic pride as the first win for an Australian club in the 2017 tournament, after Brisbane’s hopes of progressing from Group E ebbed away during Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Kashima Antlers in Japan.

The third-placed Wanderers (three points) are the only A-League team no longer last at the group-stage midpoint, though results must fall their way to catch Group F leaders SIPG (nine points) and Urawa (six points).

Coach Tony Popovic sensed FC Seoul would again be there for the taking when the sides met again in four weeks, saying the victory had injected much-needed belief that his squad would take to Campbelltown Stadium on April 11.

“We will gain a lot of confidence from this performance and result,” Popovic said.

“Now we want to repeat this at our home ground.

“If we can all be fit and healthy I believe we give ourselves a very good opportunity to get another three points against FC Seoul.”

Before then come the pivotal final four A-League rounds, set to determine whether the Wanderers can hold onto sixth spot.

The race to the finals restarts at Spotless Stadium on Sunday against seventh-placed Wellington, who sit just two points behind, while Newcastle are one point further adrift.

Teenage striker Lachlan Scott will likely get a rest after scoring against Seoul on his ACL debut, before provider Terry Antonis buried a penalty and Jaushua Sotirio added a third.

Though Yun Il-Lok bagged a second-half brace the Wanderers looked comfortable throughout, something Popovic put partly down to the A-League’s split round.

“They played on the weekend, we didn’t,” he said.

“We had 10 days’ preparation so I felt we looked fresher and maybe sharper than them, which you would expect.

“We made the most of this and scored when we had our opportunities.

“That was the key for us, that we utilised physically the strength that we had.”


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