WE’VE compiled some initial information about two of our 2013 AFC Champions League Group H rivals – Guizhou Renhe and Suwon Bluewings.
CENTRAL Coast Mariners discovered their 2013 AFC Champions League Group Stage opponents earlier this week.
Drawn in Group H of Asia-s top club tournament, the Mariners will face China-s Guizhou Renhe, Korea Republic-s Suwon Bluewings, and the winner of Japan-s Emperor-s Cup competition.
The final of the Emperor-s Cup will be held on New Year-s Day 2013, with 16 teams still in contention to win the tournament.
Urawa Red Diamonds have already qualified for the 2013 AFC Champions League courtesy of their third place finish in the 2012 J-League.
That leaves 15 teams eligible to qualify for next year-s tournament. Central Coast-s potential Group H rivals from Japan are:
Gamba Osaka, Machida Zelvia, JEF United, Fukushima United, Kashima Antlers, Jubilo Iwata, Omiya Ardija, Kawasaki Frontale, Kashiwa Reysol, Yokogawa Musashino, Nagoya Grampus, Roasso Kumamoto, Yokohama F. Marinos, Cerezo Osaka, and Shimizu S-Pulse
While the Mariners will take the time to scout their Group H challengers over the coming months, here is a brief introduction to the two teams Graham Arnold-s men are guaranteed to face in next year-s competition, starting with China-s Guizhou Renhe.
Location: Guiyang, Guizhou, China
Head Coach: Gao Hongbo
2012 Chinese Super League Finish: 4th
Stadium: Guiyang Olympic Sports Centre (capacity: 52,000)
Colours: Home – Orange, Away – White
Official website: www.renhe.gzdsw.com
Potential danger man: The Seria A experienced striker Zlatan Muslimovic, 31, will be one player Central Coast Mariners will need to watch in contests between the two sides. Having spent time with numerous clubs in Italy-s top flight, Muslimovic has netted a goal every three games for Guizhou Renhe since arriving at the club last year. The Bosnian international striker also spent three years in the Greek Super League with P.A.O.K.
View goals from Zlatan Muslimovic in the video below
Location: Suwon, Korea Republic
Head Coach: Yoon Sung-Hyo
2012 K-League Finish: 4th
Stadium: Suwon World Cup Stadium (“Big Bird”) (capacity: 43,959)
Colours: Home – Blue, Away – White
Official website: www.bluewings.kr
Potential danger man: 30-year-old Macedonian international forward Stevo Ristic is no stranger to the AFC Champions League having previously impressed in the competition for both Pohang Steelers of Korea and FC Bunyodkor from Uzbekistan. Following his spell with Bunyodkor, Ristic moved Amkar Perm to play in the Russian Premier League. He returned to Korea Republic – this time with Suwon — in 2011 and has since banged home a goal every two-and-a-half games for the Bluewings. Prolific.
View goals from Stevo Ristic in the video below