Kennedy a threat in ACL soccer: Reds

May 27, 2012
By Steve Larkin

Blunting the aerial threat of Socceroo striker Josh Kennedy has been pinpointed by Adelaide United as the key to their Asian survival.

United host Kennedy's Japanese club Nagoya Grampus on Tuesday night in a knockout Asian Champions League (ACL) round-of-16 clash.

Adelaide, who finished a lowly ninth in the A-League, have advanced in the lucrative Asian tournament while Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners exited after the group stage.

United's run in Asia could hinge on whether they curb Kennedy at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Reds' assistant coach Luciano Trani said Kennedy's incisions into scoring positions had been heavily scrutinised.

"The dangerous one with Josh is when the ball is out in the wide areas and his timing of runs into those goal-scoring positions near post and far post," Trani told reporters on Monday.

"We have got to watch those runs.

"But at the same time, that service that gets played in, that is another one we need to look at to stop that from happening."

Goalkeeping captain Eugene Galekovic said there was a fine line in minding Kennedy and becoming over-conscious of the Socceroo.

"Any time you come up against a Japanese opponent, they're going to be quality," Galekovic told reporters.

"And Nagoya is one of those.

"They have got obviously Josh up front but they have got another striker (Keiji) Tamada who is scoring goals as well.

"So it's not just one guy we have to watch out for - there is a few of them.

"But we will be aware."

Galekovic has been in outstanding form, with four clean sheets as Adelaide topped their group, conceding just two goals in six games - the equal best defensive record in the competition.

The success continued United's strong performances in the ACL, having reached the knockout rounds in three of their four campaigns.

The Newcastle Jets, in 2009, are the only other Australian outfit to go beyond the group stage.