Mariners go down 3-1 to Auckland City


Central Coast Mariners lost 3-1 to 2011 O-League Champions Auckland City in New Zealand tonight.

Central Coast Mariners lost 3-1 to 2011 O-League Champions Auckland City in New Zealand tonight.

The Mariners had gone ahead via a smart finish from the edge of the area by Qantas Olyroos captain Oliver Bozanic, before the ASB Premiership side levelled mid-way through the opening 45 from the penalty spot.

The Yellow and Navy fell behind on the stroke of half time, with the home side making their visitors pay via a fierce counter attack.

Auckland struck again deep into second half additional time to run out 3-1 victors.

Post match, Mariners coach Graham Arnold said the friendly against Auckland was the final test his side needed heading into the Hyundai A-League season proper.

“They are a team that is going to the Club World Cup, and they have some very good players,” he said.

“The three Spanish players they have brought in are of a very high standard, and full credit to them, they played well and at a very high intensity.

“But the result was never the most important thing for us tonight. This match was always going to be used as much as a fitness drill as much as anything else.

“We played man-on-man throughout the entire pitch to ensure everyone kept working hard for the 90 minutes.

“I don-t like to have not played a game more than 10 days before another match, so this was the perfect final hit-out for us,” he said.

Arnold also praised Auckland City-s hospitality off pitch.

“Their great club has treated us fantastically well, putting us up in New Zealand and giving us a great game. We can-t thank them enough for their generosity.”

Central Coast return home from New Zealand on Thursday, and will continue their preparations on the training pitch prior to the season opener against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 8 October. Tickets for the Mariners clash against the Roar can be purchased via Ticketek.

The Yellow and Navy-s first home fixture of the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season is against Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday 15 October.

Auckland City – 3
Central Coast Mariners – 1
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