Adelaide United FC coach Aurelio Vidmar has emphasised the enormity of the club’s upcoming Round of 16 match against Korean powerhouse Jeonbuk Motors, by urging all South Australians to ensure Hindmarsh Stadium is a fortress of red on May 12.
The Reds’ knockout match against the reigning K-League champions in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League is arguably the most significant game United has played at home, since it hosted the second leg of the ACL Final against Japanese giants Gamba Osaka in 2008.
On that occasion, a capacity crowd packed into Hindmarsh, the atmosphere and volume encircling the stadium reminiscent of previous experiences, such as the Reds’ penalty shootout win over the Newcastle Jets in the 2006/07 Preliminary Final and up there with the club’s first ever match in 2003.
With a berth in September’s AFC Champions League Quarter Finals on the line for the winner next Wednesday, while the loser will bow out of the competition, the match against Jeonbuk has the potential to reach the heights of anticipation and excitement of one of United’s biggest games in its history.
Vidmar believes the round ball football code is still carving its place in the sporting landscape in South Australia, but with United’s journey in the ACL so far this year to secure a home game in the Round of 16, he expects and hopes supporters of other football codes or sports will get behind the Reds for their sudden death clash with Joenbuk.
“I’m expecting a massive crowd next Wednesday because I think it’s the Australian psyche in terms of coming out and supporting teams when it’s a knockout game or a final, so I’m urging all Adelaide United fans, and even non Adelaide United fans, to really come out and support our boys,” Vidmar said.
“We’d love to see the whole of Hindmarsh full to the brim. We’d like to see a sea of red there, and make it an intimidating atmosphere for Jeonbuk, because if we get that, that is what is going to help the players get over the line.”
“Jeonbuk are a very good team and we’ll need all our supporters to get behind us, cheer us on and make sure we cross that line.”
A week out from facing Jeonbuk, the Reds are primed to have every chance of beating the 2006 AFC Champions League winners.
United’s squad is injury free, meaning there is a full complement of players on the track, and that Vidmar’s greatest concern leading up to the match is deciding which personnel he chooses to go with.
“It’s always tough, but it’s a nice area to be in because we’ve got a fantastic squad, and you look at training this morning, the session was super competitive and everyone really wants to play,” Vidmar said.
“The spirit is tremendous. We just need that final week now where we need everyone concentrated, the energy levels need to be high, and I’m sure if we can do that and go out really fresh then we can win this game.”
Further adding to Vidmar’s preparation for the match is that Assistant Coach Phil Stubbins is heading on a spy mission to Korea to watch Jeonbuk Motors in action in their domestic league on the weekend.
“He (Stubbins) will bring as much information back as he can…if he comes back and gives us information about formation, who their key players are…we’ve already got a good understanding of how good they are, so it’s going to be a tough game but he’ll bring back as much information as he possibly can.”
Stubbins will leave for Korea on Thursday before returning on Monday.
Tickets for the Reds’ match against Jeonbuk are available through Ticketek (call 132 849, online at www.ticketek.com.au).