Beijing Battle, Round Two


Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss says he’s expecting a physical contest with China’s Beijing Guoan in Tuesday night’s 2014 AFC Champions League Matchday 4 clash at Central Coast Stadium.

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss says he-s expecting a physical contest with China-s Beijing Guoan in Tuesday night-s 2014 AFC Champions League Matchday 4 clash at Central Coast Stadium.

The yellow and navy suffered a 2-1 defeat against Gregorio Manzano-s men at the Beijing Workers Stadium on Matchday 3, but will be looking to secure a positive result to boost their hopes of advancing to the knockout stage of Asia-s premier club competition for a second successive year.

“I-m looking forward to a very good game,” Moss said. “It will be very competitive and a physical battle like we got in Beijing and I think we learnt some real lessons from that game that will hold us in good stead tomorrow night.”

“We are going to take a lot of confidence into the match after two great results in the A-League and we know that we need to be up for the physical battle tomorrow. I believe we-ve got the quality to get the three points.”

Central Coast currently sit in fourth place in Group F, while the men from the Chinese capital are first after three matches.

Moss believes claiming maximum points on Tuesday is vital if his side are to qualify for the knockout phase.

“You need to win your home games in this competition,” he said. “Tomorrow-s game and our other home match against FC Seoul are crucial for us looking forward. Our aim is to advance to the next round of the ACL, so it-s certainly a big game for us.”

Moss says there will be a few changes to the side that defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 in Gosford last Saturday, which saw the Mariners move to second position on the Hyundai A-League ladder with two rounds of the regular season remaining.

“We-ve got some rotations that will occur tomorrow night, with an important game in Perth this weekend as well. Everyone wants to play every game, which is a great position for me to be in,” he explained.

“It gives me some selection headaches but I am confident in whoever takes to the park tomorrow.”

The Central Coast boss hopes fans of the yellow and navy will turn out in strong numbers to help his team record back-to-back home wins in Asia-s top club competition.

“I think the Australian public is starting to grasp what the Asian Champions League is about and it-s a fabulous competition. It-s a great opportunity for parents to bring their kids along, and show them what it takes to get to the top level in Asia.”

Moss also praised on-loan Shanghai SIPG attacking ace Bernie Ibini following his recent form after he netted his third goal in his last four games on Saturday.

“He-s confident and he has scored some very important goals for us and he-s champing at the bit to play. He-s certainly in contention but there-s a lot of competition for places,” he said.

“Bernie certainly knows where the back of the net is at the moment and that gives him a little bit of favouritism for a spot.”

Defender Joshua Rose says his side will head into tomorrow-s encounter with a lot of confidence and admits he couldn-t be happier after he found the net for the first time this Hyundai A-League season against Western Sydney.

“We-ve had some big results recently and it has had a good impact on the squad,” he said. “Everyone is confident and we-re all battling for spots. The boys are flying at the moment. Hopefully we can take that into tomorrow night and just keep it going.”

Meanwhile, Beijing boss Gregorio Manzano said his side would need to be on their game against the yellow and navy.

“The Mariners team is very strong and physically they are very good,” the former Atletico Madrid and Malaga mentor said. “We need to be careful with Central Coast from corners and set pieces.”

“I believe we will have to play better then when we played Mariners in Beijing to win.”

Manzano mentioned that his side is likely to be without the services of midfielder Song Boxuan and defenders Lang Zheng and Zhang Xinxin for Tuesday-s match.

The Spanish coach will also have to play the game minus suspended attacker Zhang Chendong, however goalkeeper Yang Zhi and defender Zhou Ting are eligible for selection after serving one-game bans on matchday 3.

Ecuadorian ace Joffre Guerrón may also participate in the contest after recovering sufficiently from injury. Guerrón didn-t feature against the Mariners on matchday 3.

Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Beijing Guoan – 2014 AFC Champions League Matchday
Tuesday 1 April 2014
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 7:30pm
Tickets: or (Two Match Pass: $25)
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter using #CCMvBEI
Television: Live & exclusive on Fox Sports 2 & 2HD