Adelaide United FC striker Sergio van Dijk made a promising start to his Reds career in last night’s win over the Pohang Steelers, and if that performance is anything to go by, there is a lot to look forward to from the Dutch marksman.
He may not have found the back of the net last against the Steelers, but the former Brisbane Roar forward showed his value and class, sending an immediate impression of what he will bring to the Reds in the AFC Champions League.
Throughout the match van Dijk was an imposing presence. Every Pohang defender he went up against, he certainly made sure he made his presence felt. He also attempted to turn onto his lethal left foot a couple of times, a second half free kick going narrowly wide of giving the Reds a second goal.
Even when he found himself away from goal, he displayed vision and ability to find space for his new team mates.
Relaxing during the team’s recovery session at Henley Beach this morning, van Dijk is lapping up the chance to compete in the AFC Champions League and join a United squad that has once again claimed a major Asian scalp.
“I was really excited to play in the Asian Champions League and we got a win so that’s even better,” van Dijk said.
“I’m happy with the way it went and I hope that we can improve even more in the next couple of weeks.”
The inclusion of van Dijk and Argentinean playmaker Marcos Flores to add to United’s offensive brigade suddenly has an attacking flair about it, an area United struggled with in the Hyundai A-League.
It may have been the first time van Dijk has played alongside his new team mates, and it may take time for the fluency and cohesion to come, but van Dijk is buoyed by the variety around him.
“We have all types of players. We have players who like to dribble and pass the ball, we have players who are really fast, so with the likes of (Mathew) Leckie, (Travis) Dodd and Flores that’s good for me in the attacking part of the team,” van Dijk said.
Coach Aurelio Vidmar is also enjoying the interplay and combinations in the front half of the pitch, and he knows the understanding between them can only improve the longer the competition goes.
“He (van Dijk) holds up the ball very well, he brings people into the game, and I think the understanding between Marcos (Flores) and the boys up front, they created some really damaging moments,” Vidmar said.
Van Dijk is on a six month contract with United for the AFC Champions League Group Stage and Round of 16. Beyond that, the 27 year olds playing future is unclear but he has hinted his desire to stay in Australia, although he is not rushing into a decision.
“I have thought about it (next contract). The next couple of days I have some time to figure some more things out because the next game is only in two weeks so there is some more time to think about the future,” van Dijk said.
“I’m having a good time over here and Australia is a good country to live in, but I have to talk things through with my family and my agent and then we will come to a decision.”
Adelaide United’s next match is against Shandong Luneng in China on March 10, the Chinese Super League club notching up a 1-nil win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the other Group H match held mast night.