AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
ADELAIDE UNITED - BUNYODKOR TASHKENT
I have watched both teams recently and been impressed with each. However, IMO there is absolutely no doubt that the visitors from Uzbekistan are by far the better and classier outfit.
They have money , lots of it and as we know, in the modern game, money talks. This is the side that tried to sign Eto'o from Barcelona and if that sounds far fetched, a quick look at the squad will tell you that they have a couple of big names there already. Zico is the coach and he has two countrymen in the side, Luizao and Rivaldo, yes, that Rivaldo, on a $14m two year contract. I am pleased to say that he has not just gone for an easy top up to his pension plan and he has worked really hard and looked what he remains, a class above anyone else in Asia. I have also been impressed by another South American, Chilean international, José Luis Villanueva Ahumada. The bonus with Rivaldo is that he receives so much attention from opposing players, that it frees a lot of space for the rest of the team. He, or they should certainly get plenty of space today, especially through the centre, where Adelaide are missing key central defender Sasa Ognenovski. Kashima Antlers coach Oswaldo de Oliveira, is a friend of Zico and has supplied him with a lot of information about the home team, after his side lost to them, in two very close quarter finals. I watched the second game in Adelaide and the Australian team were fortunate to progress, in Bunyodkor, they are meeting a side with far greater goal threat and not just from you know who.
Adelaide blew a three goal lead at home over the weekend, they were "running on empty" in the second half and claimed that the recent gruelling schedule had left them very drained.
The only real concern I have is the huge distance travelled from Uzbekistan, but that is always a problem in this competition. I certainly do not see the visitors going home empty handed.
6.5 points Bunyodkor level ball 2.22 asian line.