Adelaide United’s stunning march to the AFC Champions League final has not escaped the attention of Central Coast Mariners attacking lynchpin Adrian Caceres, who looms large for the yellow and navy at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.
Adelaide United-s stunning march to the AFC Champions League final has not escaped the attention of Central Coast Mariners attacking lynchpin Adrian Caceres, who looms large for the yellow and navy at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.
Caceres is the only member of the Mariners playing squad with experience in the AFC Champions League, having contributed appearances against Korea-s Chunnam Dragons, Japan-s Gamba Osaka and Thailand-s Chonburi FC while with former club the Melbourne Victory.
The Mariners will make their maiden appearance in Asia-s most prestigious club competition next year and the continental form of the Mariners- opponents on Friday, Adelaide United, has been an inspiration of sorts for the AFC Champions League bound yellow and navy.
While Asia is looming on the horizon, Caceres and his Mariners team-mates most immediately have the current AFC Champions League finalists to contend with and, indeed, sentimentality will be put to one side at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.
“Hopefully they won-t be buzzing, hopefully they-ll be very tired and they-ve played a full ninety minutes and possibly extra time and hopefully we can get them while they-re tired,” said Caceres.
“They-ve done really well, but hopefully we can get them on the rebound and when they-re down and out.
“It-s great for Australian teams to be doing well in the AFC Champions League, it is a very hard competition and it will be great for the Mariners to do well next year and do as well as Adelaide have.”
When the Mariners staged a remarkable three-goal comeback against Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium last month, few were as luckless in front of goal as Caceres.
Caceres was integral to the Mariners- attacking movement against the Reds in the South Australian capital – unleashing a raid of goal bound efforts of his own throughout the match that forced a string out standout saves from Adelaide custodian Eugene Galekovic.
Caceres- start to his Mariners career has been an impressive one, with the former Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory flyer slotting one goal from eight starting and one substitute appearance, in addition to a handful of assists that have contributed to the Mariners- record 20-strong goal scoring haul after ten rounds.
“I-m just hoping to get the three points to be honest, it-s a big game for us,” said Caceres.
“Three points will set us up nicely at the top of the Hyundai A-League, hopefully we get them.
“It-s a very important game, I think it-ll decide if we-ll be up there in the top four for the season, but if we just play our normal game, hopefully we-ll come away with the three points.”
The Mariners will resume their Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign at their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 15 November, when they host AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United. Kick off is at 7.30pm.
Prior to the main game, the Mariners- National Youth League 2008/09 campaign will continue with a fixture against Adelaide United. Kick off is at 4.45pm, gates open at 4.30pm.
Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website – www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.