Gamba crowned in Asia

Gamba Osaka striker Lucas shattered Adelaide United's dreams of becoming the first Australian winners of the AFC Champions League with both goals in the second leg of the final. The Reds' hopes of a comeback were slim going into the game, following a 3-0 loss in Japan last week, and they evaporated in the first 15 minutes at home when the Brazilian made it 5-0 on aggregate, which is how it remained.

Gamba were never in serious danger Down Under, despite some desperate Adelaide attacks, and they became the second successive Japanese side to win Asia's most prestigious club crown following Urawa Red Diamonds' triumph last year. Akira Nishino's side will now compete at next month's FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008. 

A sell-out home crowd had gathered in Adelaide, hoping for an improbable comeback, but instead they witnessed United suffer their first home defeat in this year's Champions League. Gamba effectively put the tie out of their opponents' reach in just the fourth minute, when Lucas fired home after goalkeeper Mark Birighitti partially saved Hayato Sasaki's stinging volley from outside the box.

If there was any doubt, Lucas made absolutely certain of the destiny of the trophy with another strike in the 15th minute. The 29-year-old was put through on the left by an incisive pass from Takahiro Futagawa, and he had the time and space to clinically score and put Gamba five goals up on aggregate.

Adelaide gave their supporters some hope, albeit only momentarily, when their Brazilian striker Cristiano headed home in the 27th minute, but it was disallowed for offside.

The United players' heads dropped as Gamba, urged on by their pocket of a couple of hundred blue-shirted fans assembled in one corner of the ground, controlled possession and found several more scoring chances.

Lucas, on a hat-trick, sent a controlled header just over the crossbar as Adelaide's frustrations boiled over when defender Michael Valkanis was cautioned for chopping down Michihiro Yasuda. It was not to be their night; one which belonged to Gamba Osaka.