Asian Football Confederation - Champions League 2012

10-man Mariners draw with Seongnam
by Chris Dunkerley

Group G - Round 3 - 1st Leg
7:00pm, Tuesday 3 April, 2012
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Adam Kwasnik 50')
drew with
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC 1
(Everton dos Santos Pinto 57')

Two goals in 7 minutes saw Central Coast Mariners draw 1-1 with Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC of Korea at Gosford last night.

The Mariners have had to be content with 1 point from third Group G clash in the Asian Champions League after being reduced to 10-men in the 67th minute. In a tackle from behind in the area, that was a reminder of a similar infringment in Brisbane at the weekend, Joshua Rose this time not only conceded a penalty (when perhaps Mat Ryan had it covered) but was given a straight red card by Uzbeki referee Valentin.

Brazilian Heverton Alves took the penalty for Seongnam but failed to score when he struck the cross bar, bringing relief to Mariners players and fans.

Graham Arnold elected to go for a win and started two strikers up front who had taken little part in recent A-League games - Adam Kwasnik and John Sutton.

Both teams started the game playing short-passing football in a similar shape, that made it hard for either side to get up on the flanks, and reduced the chances for both teams. In the 8th minute a header for Soengnam gave Mat Ryan a touch of the ball, and then John Sutton sent a speculator over the bar from 25m in the 16th minute.

In the 36th minute Yoon Bit Ga Ram got into the area, onto a loose ball, but pulld it wide of the right upright. Five minutes later Alex Wilkinson was forward and got in a header on target from a free kick from the left by Michael McGlinchey.

In the 50th minute Kwasnik opened the scoring after Seongnam goalkeeper Kang Jin was unable to hold a close-range shot from Daniel McBreen. The ball rolled out to the right where a lurking Adam Kwasnik beat a defender to the ball and slotted it home. 1-0

Alas for the home side just seven minutes later Everton dos Santos Pinto received from the left on the edge of the area, and turning out rounded Joshua Rose before stroking an angled shot across Mariner's goalkeeper Mathew Ryan. 1-1

Mariners' substitute Sam Gallagher, and John Sutton, were denied by Seongnam 'keeper Ha Kang Jin in the final 15 minutes, before Ryan tipped a last minute strike from Jeon Sung Chan over the crossbar to ensure a share of the spoils, despite both sides pressing hard for the winner.

“I can’t be prouder of the boys,” Mariners coach Graham Arnold said. “The effort that we put in was incredible, and was made even tougher with the send off, so ten men. We stuck with a four-three-two and we went for the win because we wanted obviously to try and get the three points. The second round of the ACL, that’s our next goal as well as obviously the semi-final series.”

“We have a huge respect for the Asian Champions League and we have a responsibility to perform not only for the A-League but for the whole of Australia,” he added.

"I felt we were a little bit heavy in the first half, but coming into the second half we played better," said Seongnam coach Shin Tae-yong. "We came back from 1-0 down and then we missed the penalty. I feel had we scored the penalty, we would have won the game by three or four goals.

He added, "It was still a game that was in our hands, but it slipped and it has made it tough on ourselves in the Group Stage. We could have moved into first place, but we let that go and from that aspect it is disappointing."

Nagoya Grampus FC posted the first win in Group G of the AFC Champions League after recording a 3-0 win over Tianjin Teda FC, away in China. Nagoya now clearly lead the Group.

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