How Adelaide United grabbed top spot in the ACL

How Adelaide Qualified for the Next Round

Adelaide United have secured a home draw in the last 16 of the Asian Champions league after taking top spot in their group.

A successful campaign has seen them finish above reigning ACL Champions Pohang Steelers, in Group H, despite losing the last game at home 1-0.

After a poor A-League season, the side regrouped to perform beyond expectations and after three wins in as many matches, they virtually guaranteed their second round qualification half way through the group.

Here-s how they got on:

Adelaide United 1-0 Pohang Steelers
Adelaide started off with a fantastic victory against last year-s champions at Hindmarsh Stadium.

The result announced their intent and showed that a poor A-League season was behind them after a first half injury time strike from Mathew Leckie was enough to separate the sides.

A similar triumph that saw the Reds beat Pohang in 2008 triggered a run which saw them go all the way to the final. Could they do it again?

Shandong Luneng 0-2 Adelaide United
United showed their aspirations with a second impressive home win and continued their perfect start to the campaign against a highly fancied Shandong side.

A first goal for striker Sergio van Dijk put the Reds in front midway through the first half and when Mathew Leckie made it two goals in as many ACL starts, the points were only going one way.

Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic also put in a standout performance between the sticks, ensuring that another clean sheet was kept.

Adelaide United 3-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
The Reds just managed to hold on to their one hundred percent record in this season-s ACL after coming from behind in a five goal thriller at Hindmarsh.

The crowd certainly were treated to a rollercoaster of a match after Adelaide appeared to be cruising in the first half.

An 11th minute Travis Dodd header gave the Reds a perfect start but two goals from the visitors set up a thrilling finish for the home faithful.
Cassio and Barbiero were introduced with 20 minutes to go, with the former set to be the hero on the night.

An excellent Cornthwaite header in the 77th minute, locked up the scores and sub Cassio stole the spotlight and the points with just eight minutes left on the clock.
Adelaide had one foot in the next round now and would only need one or two points from the remaining matches.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 Adelaide United
Adelaide lost their first ACL match of the season after a 45th minute goal was enough to separate the sides.

The J-League side clearly needed the points more to get their campaign going after three losses on the trot. With Pohang also winning both sides only required a draw to see them advance.

Pohang Steelers 0-0 Adelaide United
As often happens when both sides need a point a draw was the final result. Despite Pohang having most of the chances, Adelaide escaped with the result they needed.

Qualification was wrapped up with a game to spare but that top spot that means a home draw for the next round was still up for grabs in the final game of the group.
The only sour note from the night was the suspensions that left Pantelis, Mullen and Hughes out of the final group match.

Adelaide United 0-1 Shandong Luneng
Despite being seemingly a dead rubber, this match was important at the top of the group as the side finishing top would get that all important home tie.

Despite losing on the night, Adelaide managed to keep top spot on goal difference after Pohang also lost.
This won-t have pleased the home faithful too much but Adelaide now look forward to the 12th May where they have a home tie against Group F runners-up Jeonbuk Motors where the winners will move into the quarter finals.