Oz celebrate Adelaide Utd's Champions League progress

Football Federation Australia chief Ben Buckley has congratulated Adelaide United for reaching the Champions League final.

Adelaide this morning defeated Bunyodkor Kuruvchi on aggregate after the second semi-final in Tashkent. Bunyodkor won this morning's match, 1-0, after Adelaide had an emphatic 3-0 victory at Hindmarsh Stadium a fortnight ago.

"I know that everyone in the Australian football community, and every Australian sporting fan, joins me in congratulating Adelaide on the result this morning," Buckley said.

"This is one of the most significant achievements to date for an Australian club team and Adelaide has had many people enthralled with their progress through this prestigious competition.

"Adelaide United is leading the way in the Hyundai A-League and all of us are delighted with Aurelio Vidmar, his players and all the people behind the scenes at the club."

Adelaide United will next meet Japanese team Gamba Osaka in the Final, also to be played on a home and away basis, with the first leg to be played in Osaka on 5 November and the return match at Hindmarsh Stadium on 12 November.

"No doubt this will be one of the hottest tickets in town," Buckley said.

Adelaide has also won the right to compete in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup, comprising champion club teams from each FIFA region, regardless of the outcome of the Final of the AFC Champions League. This is because the FIFA Club World Cup will take place in Japan with the host country already set to have a representative team participating in the tournament.

Buckley said that the players, coaching and other staff of Adelaide United had also demonstrated their ability to cope with the travel schedule.

"Their playing and travel schedule over the past fortnight has been rigorous but they're also professional sportsmen supported by a strong and professional off-field crew."

Buckley said that Adelaide United's participation in the AFC Asian Champions League is another indicator of football entering a new era of professionalism in Australia.

"Getting to the Final of the AFC Champions League is fantastic achievement for Adelaide, it's a great boost for football in Australia, and it's good for Australia as a nation to be competing at this level," said Buckley.

"Adelaide has shown the way and are the first to get this far in the AFC Champions League. I'm sure every other Hyundai A-League club will aspire to be the next."

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