Sterjovski brace shocks Hiroshima

by Chris Dunkerley:

Group F – Game 2 – Home Leg
7:30pm, Tuesday 11 March, 2014
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

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Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Mile Stejovski 24′, 32′)
defeated
Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC 1 (Tsukasa Shiotani 22’)

acl

A well-taken brace by the experienced Mile Sterjovski took Central Coast Mariners to one of the Club’s greatest ever triumphs; in an ACL Champions League tie at home in Gosford on Tuesday night.

Nerves at play? In the first minute Zac Anderson’s poorly weighted long pass forward allowed the visitors to mount a first attack; but impressive full-back Tsukasa Shiotani shot straight at Liam Reddy in the Mariners goal.

It was a perfect night for football, but both sides started at a low tempo.

With Senfrecce dominating possession, in the 13th minute Mariners full-back Storm Roux was caught out but tracked back in time to block, and send the ball for a corner thwarting a good chance.

The Japanese side was proving adept at the physical game, with Kim Seoung-Yong and Nick Fitzgerald having close attention, and Matt Simon targetted.

In the 21st minute Liam Reddy had wandered almost to the edge of his area, and from the centre circle Yojiro Takahagi lifted the ball almost over Reddy, and the custodian had the back-pedal – he just managed to parry it away from goal.

In the 22nd minute Sanfreece won and corner on the right, and a curling ball in was head on by Tsukasa Shiotani. Kim was on the line but misjudged the bounce and it sailed over him and into the net. 0-1

 

One could have been forgiven of wondering is the flood-gates would open, but the hard working home side responded first.

Up against the reigning – indeed back-to-back – J.League Champions, Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC, Phil Moss’s team fought back.

Two minutes later Kim found space on the left, cut inside, and deftly slotted a pass diagonally to a lightly marked Mile Sterjovski who with a quick stride lost him man and slotted the ball past Takuto Hiyashi in the Hiroshima goal. 1-1

In the 32nd minute under sustained pressure the Sanfrecce defence misplayed a clearance which Mile Sterjovski lept on, and sent a curling shot, with slight deflection, past Hiyashi and into the net. 2-1

Though the visitors continued to hog possession they were pressed across the park, and it was only Takuma Asano’s header wide just 2 minutes after the goal that gave hope of a come-back.

Starting the second half, Matt Simon tried to extend the lead but was thwarted.

In the 59th minute Asano hit a speculator was over the crossbar. In the 80th he again got a shot in, this time on target but Reddy had quick reflexes and palmed it away.

Mariners coach Phil Moss hailed not only the win over the J.League giants, but the effort of his squad. “Obviously it’s a very proud moment for the Club and a very famous victory for the Central Coast Mariners and for the A-League, so I am very, very proud of my players tonight,” he said.

“I hope that tonight gives the squad the belief to go on with things in the A-League now. I have just said to them that they didn’t just get the result tonight, they deserved the result. I think that’s an important thing to come out of the game – we didn’t just hold our own we played some quality football, and we threatened on a number of occasions.”

“I am so happy for Mile,” Moss said. “He’s such a great guy, he’s such a fantastic professional, he’s been so important for us on and off the field and he really wound the clock back tonight.”

The win over Sanfrecce lifts the Mariners to second place in 2014 AFC Champions League Group F after two matchdays, with FC Seoul leading the way on four points, the Mariners on three, Beijing Guoan two, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima one – FC Seoul and Guoan having drawn 1-1.

Match Statistics:

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Mile Stejovski 24′, 32′)
defeated
Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC 1 (Tsukasa Shiotani 22’’)

Official crowd: 2,168 (fans at the game suggest a little larger)

Central Coast Mariners FC line-up:
1. Liam REDDY (gk), 4. Eddy BOSNAR, 15. Storm ROUX, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 3. Joshua ROSE, 29. Nick FITZGERALD (20. Bernie IBINI +67′), 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 18. Nick MONTGOMERY, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (29. Matt SIMM +85′), 19. Matt SIMON (9. Mitchell DUKE +60′), 26. KIM Seung-Yong
Subs not used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 28. Glen TRIFIRO, 13. Brent GRIFFITHS, Isaka CERNAK
Coach: Phil Moss (Australia)
Yellow Cards: Matt Simon 37′; Red Card: Nil

Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC line-up:
1. Takuto HIYASHI (gk), 4. Hiroki MIZUMOTO, 5. Kazuhito CHIBA, 6. Toshihiro AOYAMA, 9. Naoki ISHIHIRA, 10. Yojiro TAKAHAGI (36. Hayao KAWABE +80’), 17. PARK Hyung-Jin, 18. Yoshifumi KASHIWA (24. Gakuto NOTSUDA +54′), 29. Takuma ASANO, 30. Kosei SHIBASAKI (22. Yusuke MINIGAWA +88′)
Subs not used: 13. Takuya MASUDA (rgk), 25. Yusuke CHAJIMA, 28. Takuya MARUTANI, 37. Kazuya MIYAHARA
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu (Japan)
Yellow Cards: Nil ; Red Card: Nil

Ratings:
Referee – Abdulrahman Abdou (Qatar) 6/10
Pitch: 8/10
Game: 8/10

Players to note: Tsukasa Shiotani; Central Coast – Mile Sterjovski

Match report and ratings by Chris Dunkerley

[ AFC site ] http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-champions-league.html