FOOTBALL: Nanjing's air quality index, described as "unhealthy" over the next two days, is causing Adelaide United's squad major concern.
With the Reds expected to touch down in Nanjing last night, Reds officials are worried for the squad's health before United faces Jiangsu Sainty in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.
By the time the game kicks off at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre the forecast air quality has been downgraded to "unhealthy for sensitive groups".
Officials claim the Reds won't be heading outdoors into the "unhealthy" quality air unless it has to after United lost 1-2 in Melbourne to Victory on Saturday in air quality which was described as "good" according to the Real-time Air Quality Index.
Despite the shocking air quality in Nanjing, Adelaide United's defender Tarek Elrich, who scored a cracking late goal at AAMI Park, says the Reds must put up a fight similar to Saturday's showing.
"It's not going to be easy, this competition is always hard," Elrich said before flying to China.
"We're playing against teams that spend millions and millions on their squads."
Jiangsu is aiming to bounce back from Saturday night's Chinese Super Cup 0-1 loss to Guangzhou Evergrande after winning its opening round Champions League clash 1-0 over South Korea's Jeju United away last week.
But Elrich remained confident Adelaide will not suffer like it did last Wednesday night at Hindmarsh when Gamba Osaka ripped the Reds to shreds in a clinical 3-0 win.
With Jiangsu parading multi-million dollar stars former Chelsea and Brazil midfielder Ramires, ex Brazilian youth international Alex Teixeira and Colombian international Roger Martanez, Elrich is confident United can get its first points of the 2017 campaign.
"Unlike the Japanese, the Chinese rely a bit more on their foreign players where the Japanese are a bit more structured,'' Elrich said
"We'll just stick to our game plan, we've got a short turnaround and long travel. It's not going to be an easy one but as a team we can get a result over there."
Elrich says Adelaide needs to improve in front of goal to have a real chance of beating Jiangsu.
With Marcelo Carrusca sent home - the Argentine was cut from the Reds Champions League squad - and Marc Marino also back in Adelaide after coach Guillermo Amor didn't take him to China the Reds may be caught short in the attacking department.
"I think it was just the finishing that let us down. Victory took the chances and we didn't," Elrich said.
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