The Central Coast Mariners’ maiden AFC Champions League tilt has come to a close in frustrating fashion at Central Coast Stadium this evening, where the home side dominated China’s Tianjin Teda in all departments except for the one that matters most to concede a cruel 1-0 defeat.
The Central Coast Mariners- maiden AFC Champions League tilt has come to a close in frustrating fashion at Central Coast Stadium this evening, where the home side dominated China-s Tianjin Teda in all departments except for the one that matters most to concede a cruel 1-0 defeat.
Tianjin-s Mao Biao struck the fatal blow to the Mariners- chances of a breakthrough win in Asia on 64 minutes and were it not for some luckless fortune in front of goal combined with some desperate Tianjin defending, Mariners members and supporters could well have been celebrating a first ever win for their club on the continent.
However, the ultimately meaningless three Group H points will depart the Central Coast bound for the China tomorrow – leaving the ill-fated Mariners without a win from six attempts in the AFC Champions League.
“Tonight probably summed up another four of our AFC Champions League games, we kept possession, created chances, then copped one,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna after the match.
“If you make one mistake, you-ll get punished and that-s what happened tonight and that-s what we-ve found throughout the AFC Champions League.
“The team that we put out tonight we thought could win the game and on the stats we deserved to win the game, but stats don-t win you games.”
The Mariners- dominant first half showing delivered all but a match opener for the home side – a telling sign of the Mariners- lack of confidence and form in front of goal.
New strike pairing Adrian Caceres and Adam Kwasnik toiled consistently to no end result, despite showcasing regular segments of individual quality and flair that were among the best the Mariners have displayed in Asia.
The addition of Pedj Bojic in midfield added steel to the Mariners- defensive resolve and, indeed, the visitors rarely threatened in attack.
The half time possession statistics claimed a 70% share for the home side and it was hard to dispute the Mariners- territorial dominance and ever increasing likelihood to score.
However, as has too often been the case in recent times, the Mariners conceded against the run of play and relinquished their advantage once Mao Biao found space on the break in behind the Mariners backline.
Mao Biao-s expert finish handed Tianjin an advantage that they barely deserved but duly clung onto until the final whistle, despite a barrage of consistently probing Mariners forays into their opposition penalty area that amazingly failed to yield an equaliser.
Ahmad Elrich, in his first start since September 2008, was the focal point of much of the Mariners- attacking advances, while Andrew Clark and Dean Heffernan would regularly charge forward from defence with purpose.
Although, without the presence of injured strike trio Dylan Macallister, Nik Mrdja and Matt Simon, the Mariners struggled to apply the final touch to any of their attacking advances and were forced to concede the fourth defeat of their debut Asian experience.
The Mariners- attentions now turn to the Hyundai A-League 2009/10, where the club will be aiming to match and then build upon the envied benchmarks that it has set on and off the field since its inception.
“Now, at this stage, we can look to have a break, get the squad back in late June and work towards the next Hyundai A-League season,” said McKinna.
“We-ve done our best with the squad that we had, you could see tonight that the effort was there – I-m sure that the boys would love to show next season that they are a good team.”
The Mariners will next be in action in a competitive fixture for the kick off of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 – a blockbuster away clash against the Melbourne Victory at their Etihad Stadium home on Thursday, 6 August. Kick off is at 8pm.
Membership renewal information for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will soon be distributed to existing Mariners members, with information for new Mariners members to be made available shortly at www.ccmariners.com.au.
Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 4. Pedj Bojic, 7. John Hutchinson, 8. Dean Heffernan, 10. Adrian Caceres, 15. Andrew Clark, 16. Nigel Boogaard, 17. Matthew Osman, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 21. Ahmad Elrich (5. Bradley Porter 76-), 23. Adam Kwasnik
Unused Subs 1. Matthew Nash (gk), 3. Shane Huke, 6. David D-Apuzzo, 22. Nick Rizzo, 26. Brady Smith, 27. Matthew Lewis
Yellow Cards Caceres 90-+5
Red Cards None
Tianjin Teda 22. Zhao Yanming (gk), 2. He Yang, 3. Bai Yi, 4. Wu Ze, 7. Chi Rongliang, 11. Lu Yan (16. Fan Baiqun 46-), 15. Liao Bochao, 20. Mao Biao, 21. Han Yanming (19. Nie Tao 82-), 24. Mark Bridge (12. Tian Yuan 65-), 27. Ma Leilei
Unused Subs 17. Du Jinyong, 18. Mu Ruitong, 25. Yang Qipeng (gk)
Yellow Cards Han Yinming 12-, Ma Leilei 34-, Zhao Yanming 90-+3, Fan Baiqun 90-+4
Red Cards None
Goals Mao Biao 64-
Referee Basma Mohsen (Syrian Arab Republic)