Adelaide United’s AFC Champions League finals hopes have been given a boost with FFA rescheduling one of the Reds’ Hyundai A-League games next month.
The Round 11 clash between United and the Central Coast Mariners was scheduled for November 8 but will now be played as a stand-alone game on November 15.
This gives Adelaide an uninterrupted week of preparation between its ACL finals games against Gamba Osaka on November 5 and 12.
The change will be a welcome relief for the Reds who will play their 10th game in 45 days when they tackle Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the entire Australian football community was keen to see the South Australian side succeed.
“Their success reflects well on football and on the quality of the Hyundai A-League competition,” Buckley said.
“With Adelaide’s place in the final assured, we have worked with all the parties to give Adelaide the best possible chance of success in the Asian Champions League.”
“The change gives the players the maximum recovery time to prepare for the biggest match of their club career.”
The new date for the Reds-Mariners clash falls in a FIFA break. But Buckley said that wouldn’t stop players from either team being selected for the Socceroos’ side which will play Bahrain on November 19. Buckley said players could travel after the Hyundai A-League fixture and arrive two days before the game.
“We don’t want to deprive Hyundai A-League players the opportunity to play for the Socceroos if selected,” he said.
“But the change does mean that if any Adelaide or Central Coast players are included in the Socceroos squad, the burden of travel will shift from the Asian Champions League Final to the FIFA World Cup qualifier.”
Buckley said the fixture change to accommodate the AFC Champions League should be viewed as a ‘one-off special case’ because of Adelaide’s remarkable progress to the final.
The game change was just the news United were after as they arrived back in Adelaide early on Saturday morning.
Reds players were welcomed home by hundreds of supporters who are still on a high after their team’s 0-1 result against Bunyodkor Kuruvchi saw them qualify for the final.
Meanwhile, it’s still undecided where Adelaide United fans, who’ve missed out on tickets for the November 12 game, will be able to watch the contest on a big screen television.
It has been estimated more than 30,000 people will miss out on watching the game live with Hindmarsh Stadium housing only 17,000 people. Elder Park, the city’s main reserve, is the expected venue.