Adelaide United held China's Changchun Yatai to a scoreless draw to secure the last spot in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals and become the first Australian club to advance past the group stage in the continental championship.
|Adelaide celebrate getting the point they needed |
to make history [GALLO/GETTY]
Adelaide needed only avoid a loss in the match, which was delayed 24 hours due to the period of morning following last week's deadly earthquake in China, to advance to the knockout round.
The draw was enough to win Group E by two points, with Adelaide finishing the group stage undefeated on four wins and two draws.
Changchun was also unbeaten with three wins and three draws.
Defenders Angelo Costanzo and Sasa Ognenovski defused countless Yatai attacking raids with their aggressive tackling and superiority in the air.
Both shrugged off injury or sickness to make the starting 11, while Milan Susak was shifted into left-back so that Lucas Pantelis could move forward.
Changchun attacked relentlessly down the left and was unlucky not to grab a lead when a free kick deflected off a post after a half hour.
Bruce Djite just failed to connect with Pantelis' cross in the 79th minute and Yatai went close in the last 10 minutes, with Ognenovski heading off the line in the last minute to preserve the draw.
Adelaide joins three Japanese clubs in the last eight, including defending champion Urawa Red Diamonds who got a bye into the knockout stage, plus Syria's Al Karama, Uzbekistan's Kuruvchi, Saipa from Iran and Kuwait side Al Qadsia.
The draw for September's quarterfinals will be held Saturday.