The Central Coast Mariners emerged victorious in the AFC Cup on Wednesday night, prevailing with a hard-fought 2-1 win against Bali United at Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium.
Heading into the final two games of the group stage, the three points keep the Mariners top of Group G, currently one point clear of second placed Terengganu.
Alou Kuol and Marco Tulio played a pivotal role in securing the three points, each getting on the scoresheet, while the likes of Brian Kaltak and Jacob Farrell were extremely strong in defence.
The Mariners made a fast start to the game, scoring their first goal in the 13th minute. Koul skilfully and calmly placing the ball into the bottom left corner, the play brilliantly created by an excellent pass from Jacob Farell.
The home side were however quick to hit back, equalising 5 minutes later in the 18th minute. Bali United forward Jefferson capitalising on a breakaway to score their first, levelling the game at 1-all.
The score remained locked at one-a-piece heading into the half time break after an intense first half battle.
Straight out of the sheds, Football Manager Mark Jackson made two changes, bringing on Max Balard & Christian Theoharous, replacing Brad Tapp & Mikael Doka.
A physically demanding start to the second half saw the Mariners awarded a penalty, earned by Alou Kuol after being taken down in the penalty area in the 64th minute.
The spot kick taken by Marco Tulio, the joint top goal scorer in the competition group stages.
The Brazilian confidently beat the keeper with ease, sending him in the wrong direction, placing the ball into the right-hand side of the net. This goal giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead heading into the last 25 minutes.
The remainder of the game saw a physical battle between the two sides, however, neither side improved the score line, with the Mariners securing an important three points.
The team now turn their attention to Brisbane Roar this weekend, while we next face Terengganu at home in the AFC Cup on November 29th.