Nagoya Grampus vs. Central Coast Mariners


The main issue still to be resolved in Group G on Matchday Six is whether Japan’s Nagoya Grampus or Australia’s Central Coast Mariners will make the cut for the knockout rounds.

With Korean FA Cup holders Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma all but through to the last 16 and Chinese FA Cup holders Tianjin Teda out of contention for the knockout rounds, the main issue still to be resolved in Group G on Matchday Six is whether Japan-s Nagoya Grampus or Australia-s Central Coast Mariners will make the cut for the knockout rounds.

Nagoya-s 1-1 draw at Seongnam two weeks ago, when an own goal by Park Jin-po cancelled out Han Sang-wun-s opening goal for the Korean side, kept the Japanese club in second place in the group, level on seven points with Seongnam and one ahead of Central Coast.

Having been trounced 5-0 at Seongnam two weeks earlier, the Australian club recovered to hammer Tianjin Teda 5-1 for their first ever victory in the AFC Champions League. Daniel McBreen netted a brace while Joshua Rose, Michael McGlinchey and Mustafa Amini added a goal each to give the A-League side genuine hope of progression to the knockout rounds.

But to do that, they must accomplish another first by recording their first ever away win in the competition when they visit the Mizuho Athletic Stadium to take on Nagoya. It will not be an easy task for the A-League outfit as Grampus have only been beaten once in their previous 11 AFC Champions League matches at home.

A draw or a win for Nagoya would see them join Seongnam in the last 16 although they could still snatch top spot if they win by a large enough margin against Central Coast to overcome the Korean side-s superior goal difference.

Seongnam, the 2010 champions, only need to avoid a heavy defeat when they visit last-placed Tianjin to seal their spot in the knockout rounds. Even if they lose in China, the Korean side will still progress if Central Coast fail to beat Nagoya.

Tianjin will be looking to restore some pride after their heavy loss in Australia and to avoid stretching their winless run in the AFC Champions League to eight games.

Nagoya Grampus vs Central Coast Mariners
This is the second meeting between Nagoya Grampus and Central Coast Mariners following their 1-1 draw in Australia in March. Nagoya are taking part in the competition for the third time in four years while Central Coast are making their second appearance.

Nagoya Grampus
· Nagoya Grampus are looking to maintain their record of qualifying for the knockout stage in every AFC Champions League edition in which they have appeared. They reached the semi-finals in 2009 and made it to the round of 16 last year.
· Nagoya are hosting Australian opponents for only the second time in the AFC Champions League. They faced Newcastle Jets in 2009, drawing 1-1 in Japan and winning 1-0 in Australia.
· The Japanese club have six different scorers so far in this year-s tournament – Josh Kennedy and Mu Kanazaki were on target in the 2-2 draw with Seongnam, Marcus Tulio Tanaka netted in the 1-1 draw at Central Coast and Jungo Fujimoto, Keiji Tamada and Kensuke Nagai scored in the 3-0 thumping of Tianjin. Their only goal in the 1-1 draw with Seongnam two weeks ago was an own goal.

Domestic form
· Nagoya Grampus returned to winning ways after a three-match winless run in the J.League with a 1-0 victory at Vissel Kobe last Saturday. They are now in eighth place, seven points behind leaders Vegalta Sendai but with a game in hand.

Central Coast Mariners
· Central Coast recorded their first ever AFC Champions League victory two weeks ago when they thrashed Tianjin Teda 5-1 in Gosford. The Australian side are now eyeing their first away win in the competition after drawing two and losing three of their previous games outside Australia.
· Daniel McBreen-s brace against Tianjin made him the top scorer for Central Coast in the AFC Champions League with two goals.
· Mustafa Amini, who also scored in the win against Tianjin, is set to make his final appearance for the Mariners before moving to Germany to join Borussia Dortmund. The Australia U-23 international midfielder was signed by the German double winners last July but was sent back to Central Coast on loan until the end of the AFC Champions League group stage.
· Defender Predrag Bojic is suspended for one game after receiving two yellow cards during the group stage.

Domestic form
· Central Coast-s A-League season came to an end on April 14 when they lost on penalties to Perth Glory following a 1-1 draw in the preliminary final. Despite failing to reach the Grand Final, they booked their place in the 2013 AFC Champions League after finishing first in the A-League table during the regular season.