Japanese outfit Sanfrecce Hiroshima have defeated Adelaide United 1-0 on match day 4 of the Asian Champions League. Sanfrecce were able to turn around last week's 3-2 loss in Adelaide to grab their first points of the group stage whilst the Reds fell for the first time in their four matches.
The opening of the clash was a cagey affair with neither side really worrying the opposition goalkeeper and the crowd was doing what they could to try and spark up the players but it was a very uninspiring first 20 or so minutes. Finally some dangerous play from the home side when Masato Yamazaki forced a full-length diving save from Eugene Galekovic in Adelaide's goals in the 25th minute which pushed the match into action and put a spring in the step of the home side.
The Reds then had a brilliant chance to draw first blood after a dangerous set piece was played into the area before falling to skipper Travis Dodd but he took an eternity to get his shot off which was blocked and then a penalty area scrambled ensued before Mathew Leckie's weak shot was easily held by Shusaku Nishikawa.
On the stroke of half-time, Adelaide came unstuck in defence again when Sanfrecce broke open but Satoru Yamagishi's shot was brilliantly saved by Galekovic. From the ensuing corner, however, the home side hit the front when captain Hisato Sato popped home a header after being unmarked at the back post to make it 1-0 at the main break.
Adelaide were in desperate search of an equaliser and started the second term in exactly that frame of mind but were finding it tough to break down the Sanfrecce defence.
Down the other end, defender Ryota Moriwaki almost made it 2-0 to Sanfrecce when he took on the Reds defence with a strong run through heavy traffic but his final shot was wide of the mark and allowed the visitors to remain in the contest.
The match really began to heat up as the final 20 minutes approached but Adelaide could not breach the one goal deficit that the home side had held over them since half-time. A few chances were falling to Reds players but they did not have the efficiency they showed in their three group stage wins.
Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar rang the changes just prior to the 80 minute mark but it did not do anything to change the result as Sanfrecce kept in front with their narrow lead until the final whistle to notch their first win of the Asian Champions League for 2010 and inflict Adelaide's first defeat.
AU: Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), Robert CORNTHWAITE, Iain FYFE, Daniel MULLEN, Lucas PANTELIS (78'), Sergio VAN DIJK, Travis DODD (c), Scott JAMIESON (78'), Michael MARRONE, Mathew LECKIE (59'), Marcos FLORES
Subs: Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), Nigel BOOGAARD, CASSIO (59'), Adam HUGHES, Paul REID (78'), Fabian BARBIERO (78'), Adam GRIFFITHS
SH: Shusaku NISHIKAWA (gk), Koji MORISAKI, Kazuyuki MORISAKI, Hisato SATO (c) (85'), Issei TAKAYANAGI (75'), Satoru YAMAGISHI, Kota HATTORI, Tsubasa YOKOTAKE, Ryota MORIWAKI, Masato YAMAZAKI (90+2'), Koji NAKAJIMA
Subs: Hirotsugu NAKABAYASHI (gk), Tomoaki MAKINO, Tadanari LEE (85'), Shinichiro KUWADA (75'), Kohei SHIMIZU, Hironori ISHIKAWA, Marutani TAKUYA (90+2')