Brazilian brilliance books India trip in dramatic AFC Cup win

Central Coast Mariners’ AFC Cup journey is still alive, after the most dramatic of wins in Campbelltown.

The Mariners had victory snatched away from them late in normal time, before finding themselves behind little over a minute into extra time.

But it was Brazilian brilliance that saw the Mariners through as first Mikael Doka curled home a stunner before the extra time interval, and Ronald Barcellos picked the finest of times to score his first Mariners goal, making it 3-2 in the 120th minute.

It’s the second time in less than a week that the Brazilian boys have been the Mariners heroes, after Sunday’s Isuzu UTE A-League victory against Western Sydney Wanderers, when Doka converted a late penalty won by Barcellos.

The first half ended goalless in Campbelltown, with the Mariners best effort coming through Miguel Di Pizio’s shot which was blocked by Matthew Jurman.

Danny Vukovic was called into the action at the other end, making a strong save to deny Macarthur’s top scorer Valere Germain his fifteenth goal of the season.

Both sides saw efforts saved in the second half, as Vukovic kept out Raphael Borges’ strike before Filip Kurto denied Mariners sub Ryan Edmondson a fourth AFC Cup goal in just two games.

The deadlock was finally broken on 81 minutes as Angel Torres dispatched his second AFC Cup goal after collecting a typically beautiful pass from Josh Nisbet.

That looked to be the winner but the excitement was really only just beginning on the night, as Macarthur struck back on 88 minutes through talisman Ulises Davila’s glancing header, sending the game to extra time.

The Bulls came out strong in extra time and took the lead less than two minutes in, Lachlan Rose pouncing in the box to make it 2-1.

The Mariners would not give up though and got themselves on level terms as Doka curled home an absolute stunner right on half time of extra time.

And with the game headed for penalties in the 120th minute, up stepped Barcellos to fire the Mariners into the next round.

The Brazilian was involved in the build-up as he picked the ball up deep, before making his way into the box and volleying home after Alou Kuol helped on another neat Nisbet pass.

With the win, we are crowned ASEAN Zone Champions, booking a two-legged Inter-Zonal Semi-Final clash with Indian Super League leaders Odisha FC.

Mark Jackson’s side will host the first leg on Thursday 7th March, before travelling to India on March 14th for the second leg.

Tickets for our home tie will be available to purchase via Ticketek in due course.