Beijing too strong at home

by Chris Dunkerley:

AFC Champions League – Group F – Game 3 – Away Leg
7:30pm, Wednesday 19 March, 2014
at Workers Stadium, Beijing, China

Beijing Guoan FC 2 (Shao Jiayi 45’, Peter Utaka 63’)
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Nick Fitzgerald 86’pen)

Central Coast Mariners were defeated 2-1 by China’s Beijing Guoan in their 2014 AFC Champions League Group F clash on Matchday 3 at the Workers Stadium in Beijing on Wednesday 19 March, 2014.

The China SuperLeague side was just too strong at home. Breakaway goals to Shao Jiayi and Peter Utaka on either side of half time gave Gregorio Manzano’s side the points, while Nick Fitzgerald converted a penalty in the latter period of the game as the Mariners fought back.

The hosts dominated the first half, and as early as 6 minutes in Peter Utaka gave warning when free in the area he drew a strong parry from Liam Reddy.

In the 14th minute Shao Jiayi also gave warning with a free kick from 25m out that forced Reddy to palm away.
Slowly the visitors were covering the raids by Guoan, and they were forced to shoot from range. Piao Cheng hit a screamer from 35m that was tipped over the crssbar by Reddy in the 33rd minute.

With Matt Simon robbed of the ball in midfield, a quick breaway in the 45th minute allowed Shao Jiayi to raid down the right and unleash an unstoppable strike as he entered the penalty area, giving Reddy no chance. 1-0

The Mariners had their first real chances in the 54th minute when Eddy Bosnar hit the left upright from a 30m free-kick, and then follow through to curl it onto the crossbar.

With the visitors looking more attacking, it was another breakaway by Peter Utaka from a lost ball that ended in the net. The big striker rounded the advancing custodian and steered the ball into the empty net in the 63rd minute. 2-0

The last half-hour was much more about the Mariners with Nick Fitzgerald featuring in several chances for the Mariners.

In the end it was only a consolation goal, a penalty taken by Fitzgerald in the 86th minute that gave the Central Coast any hope. 2-1

It wasn’t enough.

“The way my players dig deep in the second half, rolled their sleeves up and really matches the fight in the second half I was extremely proud of,” Moss said. “I thought the character that we showed in the second half to come back from conceding a goal right at the death of the first half was fantastic.”
“First half Beijing virtually kicked us off the park and I thought there were some key decisions that didn’t go our way.”
“One that led to the first goal that I thought was a clear foul on Matty Simon, so I was very disappointed with that, but overall I was very happy with the second half and it’s certainly given us a lot of confidence to take home despite the scoreline.”
“It was a battle out there tonight and a very hostile environment for my players and I think they stood tall.”
“Beijing are physically the strongest team that we have played,” he said.
With the Club’s next two matches in the 2014 AFC Champions League to be played in Gosford, Moss believes his men are well and truly in the mix to advance to the knockout phase of the Asia’s top club competition for a second successive season.
“It’s always a case of winning your home games and we’ve got off to a good start against Sanfrecce (Hiroshima) and we’ve obviously got two more home games to play and one on the road,” he said. “So I have always said if you can win your home games you’re going to be a good chance.”
“It’s good to see the group is so tight and it’s also good to see all the Aussie teams are in there with a great chance to make the second round.”
“Certainly we’ll be doing everything we can to get out of the group stage. We’ve got some important games in the A-League as well so we have to combine both.”
“We’re very proud to be representing Australia in the AFC Champions League, and I’d like to thank everyone in Beijing for their hospitality over the last few days, and congratulate Beijing on their win tonight, but we’ll be ready for them when they come to Gosford,” he concluded.

Match Statistics:

Crowd: 32,198

Beijing Guoan FC line-up:
1. Zhang Sipeng (gk), 3. Yu Yang, 5. Darko Matic, 10. Zhang Xizhe (26. Wang Hao +90’+3), 13. Zu Yunlong, 15. Peter Utaka, 20. Zhang Xinxin, 29. Shao Jiayi (6. Zhang Ziaobin +90’+3), 31. Zhao Hejing, 39. Piao Cheng (16. Ha Dae-sung +46’), 68. Zhang Chengdong
Subs not used: 7. Yang Yun, 9. Tan Tiancheng, 12. Hou Sen (gk) 24. Li Hangbo

Coach: Gregoro Monzano (Spain)
Yellow Cards: Zhang Xinxin 52′, Zhang Chengdong ; Red Card: Nil

Central Coast Mariners FC line-up:
12. Liam Reddy (gk), 3. Joshua Rose, 5. Zac Anderson, 7. John Hutchinson (C), 8. Nick Montgomery, 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 15. Storm Roux, 19. Matthew Simon, 20. Bernie Ibini (27. Isaka Cernak +61’), 25. Eddy Bosnar (6. Brent Griffiths +80’), 28. Glen Trifiro (9. Mitchell Duke +69’)
Subs not used: 1. Justin Pasfield (rgk), 4. Marcel Seip, 26. Kim Seung-yong, 29. Matt Sim

Coach: Phil Moss (Australia)
Yellow Cards: Hutchinson 48′, Montgomery 90’+2; Red Card: Nil

BOTN Ratings:
Officials: Referee – Nagor Amir Noor Mohamed (Malaysia) 6/10
Ratings: Pitch: 6/10
Game: 7/10
Players to note: Beijing – Shao Jiayi, Peter Utaka; Central Coast – Liam Reddy, Nick Fitzgerald

Match report and ratings by Chris Dunkerley, with CCMFC media

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