Adelaide United manager Aurelio Vidmar sounded a warning to Gamba Osaka after his side edged past Waitakere United 2-1 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Thursday.
Gamba beat Adelaide 5-0 on aggregate in the final of last month’s Asian Champions League, but the Australians set up a revenge clash after goals from Daniel Mullen and Travis Dodd canceled out Paul Seaman’s first-half opener for the New Zealand part-timers at National Stadium.
With a Club World Cup semifinal date with Manchester United the prize for the winner of Sunday’s game at Toyota Stadium, Vidmar needs no extra motivation.
“For me, Gamba are very close to being the complete modern football team,” he said. “The way they pass, the way they move, the way they score goals.
“We will need to play at our optimum level to beat them, but if we do then anything can happen in football. You have to believe.”
Match-winner Dodd is also optimistic.
“We know not to give them much space and time because they will rip you apart,” he said. “Technically they are fantastic. We just need to be on our game. We are capable of beating Gamba, and if we go out there with that attitude we can win.”
Adelaide went into Thursday’s match as hot favorites, but Seaman stunned Waitakere’s richer neighbors when he capitalized on a mistake by ‘keeper Eugene Galekovic to fire home in the 34th minute.
Mullen leveled the score five minutes later with a header straight from a corner, but the Australians wasted a string of chances to pull ahead as they ratcheted up the pressure in the second half.
But Waitakere could find no way back when captain Dodd rose to head a Paul Reid free-kick past ‘keeper Richard Gillespie in the 83rd minute to scrape the win for Adelaide.