Moss, Mariners full of respect for Manzano’s men


Central Coast Mariners boss Phil Moss says his players must be brave with the ball and disciplined without it when the yellow and navy face the all green of Beijing Guoan in the AFC Champions League tonight.

Central Coast Mariners boss Phil Moss says his players must be brave with the ball and disciplined without it when the yellow and navy face the all green of Beijing Guoan in the AFC Champions League tonight.

Moss, as well as combative marksman Matt Simon spoke with Chinese media following the team-s official familiarisation session at the 66,161-capacity Workers Stadium in downtown Beijing on Tuesday afternoon.

It was there that the Mariners mentor detailed the necessity for his men to retain strong spells of possession and remain structured in defence if they are to leave the Middle Kingdom with more Group F points to their credit from their meeting with Gregorio Manzano-s side this evening.

The Mariners defeated J.League giants Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 last Tuesday to rocket to second place in the Group F standings after the first two matchdays of this year-s version of Asia-s top club competition.

“We know we have to be good on the ball and we have to be brave to play away from home,” Moss said. “We have to take the crowd out of the equation, and if we can do that we-ll gain some confidence.”

“We have done a lot of research and analysis on them and obviously they have a lot of quality foreigners, so it-s going to be a tough test for us.”

“But certainly there are some areas of their defensive structure that we feel we can exploit, and we-ve got a lot of pace upfront and a lot of strength with the likes of Matty Simon. He-s an imposing figure and a very physical player, so certainly we believe that we have got the quality and the game plan to cause Beijing problems.”

“On the flip side they-ve got some good players going forward so our defensive structure has to be rock solid, very disciplined, and that-s why I think it-s going to be a fascinating game,” he said.

Having pored over hours of footage of Beijing Guoan matches over the past week alongside his assistants Wayne O-Sullivan and John Crawley, Moss is well aware of the threat posed by Manzano-s side.

Indeed, the ‘Imperial Guard- are two from two in their 2014 Chinese Super League campaign and are yet to suffer defeat in the 2014 AFC Champions League having recorded consecutive 1-1 draws against Sanfrecce Hiroshima and FC Seoul respectively.

So while the capital city club-s quality is far from lost on Moss, the Head Coach is sure his players are physically and mentally prepared to take on a team the yellow and navy wholeheartedly respect.

“It-s a great privilege for us to come over here as Central Coast Mariners to play in the AFC Champions League,” he said. “We have a lot of respect for Beijing – they are a massive club.”

“There is obviously an Australian history here at the club with the Griffiths brothers [Joel and Ryan], so we-ve done a lot of homework.”

“We are sitting in a good position in our league back home, so confidence is high.”

“We know the AFC Champions League is a different style of football to the A-League, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

“The boys trained well today [Tuesday] and everyone has recovered from the travel so we are very much looking forward to the game,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mariners striker Simon paid credit to the Chinese Super League, a competition many of the Central Coast players – including Eddy Bosnar, John Hutchinson and Bernie Ibini – know intimately.

“There are a few boys who have played in China before,” Simon explained. “Eddy Bosnar was here last season and our captain John Hutchinson was here with Chengdu Blades when they were in the top flight.”

“The boys have got huge rapts on the league, and we know that the leagues over here are very strong and tough.”

“We know a lot of the players have good ability, so the boys are looking forward to a good hard match,” he concluded.

Over 30,000 fans are expected to venture to the Workers Stadium for tonight-s 2014 AFC Champions League matchday 3 meeting between Beijing Guoan and Central Coast Mariners.

The game kicks off at 7:30pm local time (10:30pm AEDT) and will be shown live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS 2 & 2HD.

Central Coast Mariners Squad vs. Beijing Guoan: 1. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Storm ROUX, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Bernie IBINI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong, 27. Isaka CERNAK, 28. Glen TRIFIRO, 29. Matt SIM

Beijing Guoan vs. Central Coast Mariners FC – 2014 AFC Champions League Group F Matchday 3
Wednesday 19 March 2014
Workers Stadium, Beijing
Kick-off: 7:30pm (local); 10:30pm (AEDT)
Television: Watch the match LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS 2 & 2HD
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter using #BEIvCCM