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Gamba bank on midfielder Endo
Manager praises quality of his 'mole' ahead of Asian Champions League clash.
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2008 11:27 GMT

Yasuhito Endo of Gamba Osaka controls the ball [GALLO/GETTY]
Gamba Osaka manager Akira Nishino believes his midfield "mole" Yasuhito Endo could make the difference in the Asian Champions League final against Adelaide United.

Gamba entertain Adelaide in Wednesday's first leg and Nishino said Endo's passing and threat from free kicks should give his team an edge against the Australian side's towering defenders.

Great quality

"He's a bit like a mole - he can look exhausted but he finds a way through," Nishino told Japanese media.

"He has real quality and can change a game in a moment.

"He gives us something extra."

Endo was influential in Gamba's 4-2 aggregate win over holders Urawa Reds in last month's semi-finals, scoring one and setting up another in a 3-1 second leg victory away from home.

"It's incredible really to have reached the final," said Nishino.

"But we've come this far so now we want to push on and win the title."

Nishino said his side had to unlock the Adelaide defence and be wary of counter-attacks.

"They're strong defensively so we know we must break them down.

"If we don't and they catch us on the break we could be in trouble."

Gamba Osaka fans celebrate during semi-final win against Urawa [GALLO/GETTY]
Making history

Adelaide overcame Uzbekistan's Bunyodkur in the other semi-final and United coach Aurelio Vidmar was confident after outwitting former Japan coach Zico's side 3-1 over two legs.

"We have to stay positive," said Vidmar, whose side's 13-match unbeaten run has just been ended by Melbourne Victory in the A-League.

"We have two of the biggest games in the club's history coming up so we have to get it right for both matches by fixing some small details."

Adelaide playmaker Diego is a slight injury concern for Vidmar while goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic and former Brighton midfielder Paul Reid are also carrying knocks.

Midfielder Lucas Pantelis insisted Adelaide were ready to pull off a smash-and-grab raid in Wednesday's first leg at Expo Stadium.

"We'll try and do what we have been doing for the past few months," he said.

"We will be very committed and look to grab an away goal."

The second leg takes place on November 12.

The winners qualify for December's lucrative Fifa Club World Cup in Japan.

Source:
Agencies
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