Dodd confident Reds can dictate proceedings against Shandong

Travis Dodd, who captained Adelaide United to the 2008 AFC Asian Champions League final, believes his former side have what it takes to 'tactically and technically dictate' Tuesday night's ACL play-off against Chinese side Shandong Luneng at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Adelaide United

Source: AAP

Previous to Western Sydney Wanderers making history by becoming the first Australian team to win the ACL in 2014, Adelaide qualified for what was then a two-legged final in 2008 - losing 5-0 on aggregate to Japanese side Gamba Osaka.

"I don't think Adelaide will be outplayed by any stretch of the imagination, no," Dodd said. "With the players they've got and the form they're in, there is enough experience out there to be able to dictate the game to Shandong.

"The players are confident in their ability to go out and express themselves. I don't think they'll have any fear or intimidation about the fact it's a Chinese Super League team coming over.

"I think they'll be able to play their own game and make Shandong worry about Adelaide United.

"I think Adelaide is now in position, both tactically and technically, to be able to dictate a game. They're very comfortable and confident in possession of the ball and I don't think it matters who they come up against, they back themselves to play.

"They've got a coach who wants them to play quality football, so they'll have that advantage."

In what is a one-off game for a place in the ACL group stage, Dodd said he expected Shandong to sit back, try to soak up pressure and look for opportunities to hit Adelaide quickly in transition.

"Shandong have got some great players, including the Brazilians Gil at centre-back and (Diego) Tardelli in the front-line, and (Walter) Montillo, the Argeninian midfielder," he said.

"They've got real quality with their the foreigners and about half-a-dozen of their local players are Chinese national team players as well.

"But the benefit Adelaide have is that they're coming to the business end of the A-League season and they're match-hardened and on a roll, they're winning games.

"Shandong come into the game still in their pre-season. It's only their second competitive game, after their recent qualifier to play against Adelaide, so that's a plus for Adelaide.

"Shandong is coming into hotter weather as well. I don't see them trying to take the game to Adelaide, I think they'll try to sit back and conserve energy and try to avoid running out of legs, especially late in the game."

Dodd said the key for Adelaide in a must-win game was to not waste goalscoring chances, but that if they fell behind it wouldn't be time to panic.

"It's the same as any game, whoever gets the opportunity in front of goal can't be wasteful," he said.

"I saw Eugene (Galekovic, the Adelaide goalkeeper and captain) mentioned the difference between A-League and Champions League was that in the A-League you probably get away with making a few mistakes and you don't get punished as much as you do in a Champions League comp.

"So if they create opportunities they can't be wasteful, but at the same time they have to be wary defensively and be compact and not give Shandong's players the opportunity to threaten the Adelaide goal.

"Shandong can be quite potent. They scored a heap of goals in the Chinese Super League last year, but they also conceded a lot. They're dangerous going forward, but there are opportunities at the back for the opposition.

"There's always the risk of falling behind, but I think, in a one-off game like this, If Adelaide do find themselves down and Shandong try to hold on, the Chinese team will find themselves being put under a lot of pressure as Adelaide goes for the equaliser.

"Shandong can't just play for a draw, given it's a one-off game. If it's level at the end of normal time they're going to have to keep going and Adelaide should have an advantage then because of their match fitness."

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4 min read
Published 9 February 2016 at 12:14pm
By Greg Prichard
Source: SBS