Asian Football Confederation - Champions League 2013

Mariners go second with win
by Chris Dunkerley

Group H - Round 1 - 1st Leg
7:00pm, Wednesday 3 April, 2013
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford


Central Coast Mariners FC 2
(Pedj Bojic 51’, Trent Sainsbury 80')

defeated
Guizhou Renhe FC 1
(o.g. 71' Mat Ryan)

Central Coast Mariners FC defeated Guizhou Renhe FC of China 2-1 in Gosford on Wednesday night - a crucial AFC Champions League Group H victory which has moved them to 2nd in the group.

The Mariners' home win and therefore increased chances of qualifying for the knockout phase came though second half goals from defenders Pedj Bojic and Trent Sainsbury.

Pedj Bojic put the Mariners ahead early in the second half with a stunning left foot strike, cutting inside on the right and steering a left foot shot across goal and into the far side of the net. 1-0

Dangerous Zvjezdan Misimovic floated in a troublesome free kick at 71 minutes for Guizhou. Unfortunately for the home team, left back Joshua Rose glanced Misimovic’s effort with a header that went onto the right post before diverting into the net off the chest of Mariners custodian Mathew Ryan.

Central Coast showed character late in the game, with a dominant performance, sealing a deserved win - just their second ever in the AFC Champions League – in the 80th minute.

Michael McGlinchey’s turned his defender inside out wide on the right, before delivering an inch-perfect cross to a charging Sainsbury. The 21-year-old made no mistake in placing his confident header into the back of the net to deliver Central Coast all three points, and score his first ever competitive goal for the Club.

Guizhou had their chances, with Misimovic’s dead ball plays always quality, and his Bosnian compatriot Muslimovic hit the cross bar and generally caused concern.

Of course if the Qatari referee has spotted the hand-ball in the area 4 minutes into the game, it may have been over sooner.

“Three points was a must tonight,” Mariners coach Graham Arnold said. “It was either three points or bust for us. To be able to get the three points and perform that way was exceptional. It could have easily been three or four nil before they scored. It was a very sloppy goal to give away. We gave them energy to get back into the game, but overall it was a fantastic performance.”

Central Coast Mariners play their next AFC Champions League fixture on Tuesday 9 April away to Guizhou Renhe in Guiyang, China. Kashiwa Reysol defeated Suwon Bluewings 6-2 in the other Group H game. The

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