Arnold aiming to ruin Seongnam’s strong home record


CENTRAL Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold believes his team can bounce back quickly…

CENTRAL Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold believes his team can bounce back quickly from their Hyundai A-League exit last Saturday by trumping Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in AFC Champions League Matchday 4 action on Wednesday evening.

The Mariners will meet the K-League outfit at Tancheon Sports Complex, Seongnam, and Arnold believes that despite the Korean-s strong home record in Asia-s premier club competition, his team is well positioned to the emerge victorious from the crucial Group G clash.

Indeed, Seongnam have not lost at their impressive 16,000 all-seater stadium in the AFC Champions League since 2004, when they were crushed 5-0 by Saudi side Al Ittihad in the second leg of that season-s final.

And, Shin Tae-yong-s charges can take pride in the fact they have triumphed in ten of their last 12 home matches in the AFC Champions League.

But at Tuesday-s official pre-match press conference, Arnold assured the media in attendance his team would be ready to test one of the K-League-s most illustrious and successful sides.

“Last game we drew 1-1 and we had ten men for the last 30 minutes so that put a different picture on the game,” Arnold said. “Definitely out of the last three games we need two results, and tomorrow we will be going for three points.”

“I never send my team out to play for a draw, it-s always we go to play our own style and we always play to win the game – tomorrow night will be no different.”

“Seongnam is a very big team with a great history as a football club, and it-s a very important game for both teams tomorrow night.”

In previous media statements Arnold has outlined his teams aim to reach the second round of the 2012 version of Asia-s elite club competition.

And, the wily mentor certainly knows how critical taking three points back to Australia from Korea could prove in the final make-up of a tightly contested Group G.

“We both are on the same points and we both will be fighting for a victory,” he said. “I think the result in Australia gave us a lot of confidence because we knew Seongnam had a wonderful history and two years ago they won the AFC Champions League.”

“But we definitely had the opportunities to win the game. Tomorrow night, provided we have 11 players on the field for the 90 minutes, we are confident we can get the three points.”

After a slow start to this seasons K-League, Seongnam-s results have improved in domestic competition in recent weeks. Indeed, Tae-yong-s men have recorded 1-0 victories over Chunnam Dragons and Daejeon Citizen in their last two matches.

“We-ve noticed their results in the last two clubs games have been 1-0 victories, so their confidence will be quite high as well going into this game,” Arnold acknowledged.

Seongnam have won both of their previous home games against Australian clubs in the AFC Champions League. They beat Adelaide United 1-0 in the 2007 group stage and edged Melbourne Victory 3-2 in 2010.

The last time the Mariners played in Korea they were defeated 3-2 by Pohang Steelers, however striker Adam Kwasnik scored both goals in the narrow defeat and should take fond memories of his brace in Korea into the contest.

2012 AFC Champions League – Group G – Matchday 4
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma vs. Central Coast Mariners
Tancheon Sports Complex, Seongnam
Kick-off: 7:30pm (local); 8:30pm (AEST)
LIVE on FOX Sports 1
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag is #ACLseoccm