The Central Coast Mariners’ AFC Champions League campaign is alive following a historic 5-1 victory over Chinese side Tianjin Teda…
The Central Coast Mariners- AFC Champions League campaign is alive following a historic 5-1 victory over Chinese side Tianjin Teda at Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday. The win marks the first time the Mariners have tasted victory in Asia-s premier club competition, in this their second campaign.
A double to recently re-signed striker Daniel McBreen, as well as goals to Josh Rose, Michael McGlinchey and Mustafa Amini, saw the Mariners comprehensively defeat their Chinese counterparts and set up a mouth-watering showdown with Japanese side Nagoya Grampus in their final Group G match.
Central Coast fans had their hearts in their mouths after only sixty seconds when Tianjin frontman Sjoerd Ars found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Mat Ryan after pouncing on a sloppy back pass. Ars sent his shot sliding past Ryan and into the far post.
The early scare seemed to wake the Mariners, who took control of the first half. Graham Arnold-s men dominated possession and were rewarded in the 10th minute when McBreen, fresh off signing a one-year contract extension with the Mariners, opened the scoring for the home side.
The goal was created by Mariners defender Pedj Bojic, who went on an enterprising run down the right side before sending a well weighted cross into the penalty area. Bojic-s cross found McBreen who coolly placed the ball past Tianjin goalkeeper Yang Qipeng.
Not content with just one goal, the Mariners soon doubled their lead in the 20th minute when McBreen once again found himself on the end of a Bojic cross. Adam Kwasnik played Bojic into the goal box. Bojic skipped past one defender and played the ball across the face of the goal, where a waiting McBreen placed the ball into the back of the net.
Ars had a chance to peg a goal back for Tianjin after 37 minutes after capitalising on a misdirected header from veteran Mariners defender Patrick Zwaanswijk. Ars was left jostling with Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson in the penalty area before pushing the ball agonisingly wide of the post.
After taking control of the game early on, the Mariners went to the break ahead 2-nil up courtesy of a McBreen-s double.
Central Coast wasted little time extending their lead in the second stanza. A clever McBreen through ball found Kwasnik who was dispossessed inside the Tianjin goal box. The ball fell to left back Josh Rose whose first time strike left went crashing into the back of the net.
Ryan was forced to make his first save of the game in the 53rd minute after Tianjin midfielder Hui Jiakang found his way into the Mariners goal box. After side stepping past two Mariners defenders, Jiakang fired a shot from close range, forcing a brilliant reaction save from Ryan.
The Mariners looked to put the game to bed in the 71st minute when midfield maestro McGlinchey sent a superb right-footed shot curling into the top corner to extend the Mariners lead to four goals.
The Mariners- celebrations were short lived however, when Tianjin-s Liao Bochao instantly replied for the visitors. Bochao was on the end of a well-timed ball into the Mariners penalty box and powered the ball past Ryan into the bottom corner.
The home teams- fortunes took a further turn for the worse when Bojic was booked for a reckless challenge in the 75th minute. The booking is Bojic-s second of the campaign and means the pacey defender will be unavailable for the Mariners- final group match against Nagoya Grampus.
Dynamic midfielder Amini, likely to be playing his final home game for the Mariners before linking up with German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund for the 2013 season, topped off a great night for the Central Coast side with a stunning goal in the 85th minute. Amini-s powerful first time drive from just outside the box sailed into the bottom corner, forcing Qipeng to once again drag the ball out of the back of the net.
The Mariners will now head into their match against Nagoya Grampus full of confidence, knowing a win could secure a passage into the knockout stages of Asia-s biggest club football competition.
After the match a delighted Arnold labelled the performance of his charges as one of his teams- best efforts in his tenure at the club.
“We-ve created history tonight for the Mariners,” Arnold said.
“I think it was one of our better performances. I think you can put a lot of that down to the fact that the boys are fresh.”
“It was a fantastic performance and it just shows what the Australian teams can do if they-re fresh against the Asian opposition.”
“It could easily have been ten.”
“I always remind the boys before they do go out to play in the AFC Champions League, they are representing the nation.”
Central Coast Mariners 5 (McBreen 10′, 20′, Rose 48′, McGlinchey 71′, Amini 85′)
Tianjin Teda 1 (Bochao 73′)
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic (27. Trent McClenahan 79-), 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 17. Tomas Rogic (22. Mustafa Amini 69-), 18. Alex Wilkinson (C), 23. Adam Kwasnik (9. Bernie Ibini 90-)
Substitutes Not Used: 12. Troy Hearfield, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 19. John Sutton, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk)
Yellow Cards: Bojic, McClenahan
Red Cards: None
Tianjin Teda: 3. Li Hongyang, 4. Milan Susak, 5. Li Weifeng, 6. Lucian Goian, 10. Wang XinXin (C) (7. Li Benjian 46-), 15. Liao Bochao, 19. Nie Tao, 24. Bai Yuefeng (17. Hui Jiakang 46-), 25. Yang Qipeng (Gk), 28. Sjoerd Ars, 29. Veliche Shumulikoski (18. Zheng Yi 63-)
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Song Zhenyu (Gk), 13. Jiang Chen, 23. Lu Zheyu, 27. Ma Leilei
Yellow Cards: Li Hongyang, Susak
Red Cards: None
Referee: Mohamed Abdelkarim Alzarooni (UAE)