Hard slog for United

ADELAIDE UNITED has flown 11,100km to keep the Australian flag flying.

The squad spent almost 17 hours in the air and more than six hours in transit in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok to reach the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent.

The players are determined to make it all worthwhile when they tackle Bunyodkor in tonight's do-or-die AFC Champions League quarter-final second leg.

Victory will ensure the potential $1.74 million windfall for winning the final is still within reach - a defeat will mean a long trip home with nothing to show for their efforts except jet-lag.

The sides drew 2-2 in the first leg in Adelaide last month. The Reds led 2-0 early in the first-half before Bunyodkor fought back after Adelaide defender Nigel Boogaard was sent off just before half-time.

The Reds are no strangers to winning in Tashkent. They won 2-1 in the group stages of the tournament earlier this year.

That outcome would be ideal tonight as a win or a higher-scoring draw is what the Reds need to stay alive and progress to the last four.

Club officials are leaving nothing to chance either - they flew Adelaide chefs Camillo Cruganle and Danny Anastasi with the team to ensure the best standards of hygiene and food preparation - a crucial ingredient if the team is to succeed when it matters the most - tonight.

Jon McKain is likely to partner Iain Fyfe in the heart of defence to replace suspended Boogaard.



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