Reds rolled by ruthless Gamba Osaka
FOOTBALL: Sometimes it's hard to forget why AFC Champions League is so uplifting to watch live deep inside an A-League season.
The clash between Adelaide United and Gamba Osaka at Hindmarsh was a reminder there is brilliant football played outside the bounds of Australia.
Turnovers were limited and transitions didn't become stretched to become an obvious blight on the standard of a game that some would call entertainment.
But last night Gamba Osaka - the 2008 AFC Champions League winner, they hoisted that trophy at Hindmarsh - proved that errors will be punished with Japanese precision.
Spearheaded by Japanese warrior, skipper Yasuhito Endo, 37, Gamba belted Adelaide 3-0 in round one of Group H of the 2017 Champions League.
The first two goals were works of Japanese art as Gamba continually toyed with its formation in a bid to get Adelaide out of shape at the right moments.
United had been warned about the away side's ability to morph into a 3-5-2 and using wing backs to overlap to overload an attack well before the 22nd minute.
Gamba Osaka's Konno Yasuyuki (left) celebrates with teammates Fabio (centre) and Yasuhito Endo after he scored against Adelaide United on Wednesday night.
But when 189cm striker Shun Nagasawa scored the opener from a bullet-like header after right wing back Oh Jae-suk found a heap of space from Ademilson's sweeping switch across the box it was way too late for Adelaide after they had been caught short on numbers in well drilled game plan.
And just as the 60 seconds of added time for the first half was about to tick over Adelaide was caught napping when it lost possession and paid the ultimate price to head to the break two goals down.
Gamba somehow had a three v three situation after an Adelaide turnover and this time Yasuyuki Konno blasted the ball into the roof of the net again after Gamba stretched the Reds inside the box.
Ademilson again caused trouble with a ball across the box which was parried by goalkeeper John Hall.
A shot from Yosuke Ideguchi cannoned off a Reds defender before Konno did the rest to make it 2-0.
Then Endo's set piece was a calamity when Dylan McGowan nodded the ball into his own net when Hall was caught off guard and off his line to give Gamba a deserved 3-0 win.
Adelaide did have its moments however through South Korean Kim Jae-sung, interim captain Tarek Elrich and Ben Garuccio.
The trio gave United its best options of piercing Gamba.
But the final ball was mostly disappointing until Garuccio had Gamba's gloveman Masaaki Higashiguchi at full stretch with a foot stop after cutting inside the six-yard box in the 39th minute.
Jordan O'Doherty did have a chance to again test Higashiguchi in the 63rd minute from a Gamba error but his 10m effort sailed way over the bar.
Four minutes later the Reds latest signing Baba Diawara made his debut which pleased the Reds fans for right back Michael Marrone.
Baba made the most of his only chance in the 90th minute from a Garuccio cross but his header went wide in another night where the Reds drew blanks this season.