Gamba Osaka wins Asian Football Champions League
ADELAIDE: Japanese club Gamba Osaka won the Asian Football Champions League by defeating Adelaide United by two goals in the final to return to next season''s AFC Champions League. Gamba demonstrated the gulf in class and skill levels between the J-League and Australia''s fledgling A-League with a commanding 2-0 win here in Wednesday''s return leg for an overwhelming 5-0 aggregate triumph.Gamba showcased all their attacking flair in destroying the Adelaide Reds on their home ground before a sellout crowd and effectively killed off the deciding tie and Adelaide''s remote chances with two killer goals from Brazilian striker Lucas in the first 15 minutes. It was Japan''s second consecutive win as Asian club champions following Urawa Reds'' 3-1 aggregate victory over Iran''s Sepahan last year. While Gamba Osaka are the toast of Japanese football they have a tussle on their hands to appear again in next year''s revamped ACL where the competition will be expanded from a current 28 to 32 teams. Depending on the strength of each participating country''s domestic league it will decide their number of teams in next year''s Champions''s League. But Japan, which meets all the Asian Football Confederation''s criteria, will have a maximum of four teams in the competition, including staging a new one-off final, rather than the current two-leg final. That''s where Gamba Osaka''s task of back-to-back AFC Champions League titles becomes problematical as they are currently in seventh spot and seven points behind J-League leaders Kashima Antlers. Adelaide may get another chance to test themselves against Gamba in next month''s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan where, under the tournament format, Adelaide, who benefited from hosts Japan being only allowed to have one team, qualified as the ACL runners-up. Adelaide are in line to play Gamba on December 14 if they can overcome Oceania''s representative, New Zealand''s Waitekere United, in the first round in Tokyo on December 11.