ACL preview: Nagoya Grampus v Central Coast Mariners
Only a win is likely to be enough for the Mariners if they are to survive in the ACL, but they come into Tuesday's match brimming in confidence after victory on matchday five
By Adrian Houghton
Graham Arnold reaffirmed his loyalty to the Central Coast Mariners and will be looking to guide his side to a historic result against highly fancied J-League club Nagoya Grampus on Tuesday.
Central Coast need a win to reach the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League when they travel to Nagoya for their final group clash.
Sitting in second on seven points, the J-League heavyweights had to be content with a 1-1 draw when the two teams met in Gosford on March 21 on matchday two.
Arnold's men lie one point off their opponents. Only a win can guarantee the Mariners passage through to the Round of 16 at the expense of the Japanese giants.
Nagoya forward Josh Kennedy will be renewing old rivalries with his Australian counterparts in the do-or-die clash.
The two-time J-League golden boot winner's aerial ability will be a constant threat for the Mariners defence.
But Nagoya's form is shaky, having won only one of their last six matches in all competitions.
An uninspiring 0-0 draw against Tianjin Teda in matchday five left coach Dragan Stojkovic fuming. That result means they must either draw or win to progress through to the next phase.
Central Coast's capitulation in the A-League season may have given them a renewed motivation, after a convincing 5-1 victory against Tianjin Teda.
It was the club's first-ever win in the competition, and that comprehensive display will give them every hope of overcoming Nagoya.
Captain Alex Wilkinson rightly described this must-win match as one of the club's most important games in their short history.
Wilkinson and his teammates will be looking to become the first Central Coast team to reach the knockout stages.
If Arnold's men do advance, they could face an enthralling Round of 16 meeting away at Adelaide United.
Oliver Bozanic and Troy Hearfield are on the casualty list with minor injuries. Right-back Pedj Bojic will miss through suspension, paving the way for Trent Sainsbury or Trent McClenahan.
Josh Rose is nursing a knee injury and will face a late fitness test to determine his availability.Nagoya will be without midfielder Ryota Isomura, but can call upon Ogawa Yoshizumi, who is suspended from J-League action.
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Top 3 Predictions
Nagoya Grampus 2-1 Central Coast Mariners
- 17.31 %
Nagoya Grampus 2-0 Central Coast Mariners
- 13.46 %
Nagoya Grampus 1-0 Central Coast Mariners
- 9.62 %
|Asia - AFC Champions League (ACL)||15/05/2012||Nagoya Grampus 3 - Central Coast Mariners 0|
|Asia - AFC Champions League (ACL)||21/03/2012||Central Coast Mariners 1 - Nagoya Grampus 1|
|08/03/2014||Omiya Ardija 1 - Nagoya Grampus 2||JPN1|
|01/03/2014||Nagoya Grampus 2 - Shimizu S-Pulse 3||JPN1|
|07/12/2013||Albirex Niigata 2 - Nagoya Grampus 0||JPN1|
|30/11/2013||Nagoya Grampus 0 - Ventforet Kofu 0||JPN1|
|23/11/2013||Nagoya Grampus 3 - Kashiwa Reysol 2||JPN1|
|Central Coast Mariners|
|07/03/2014||Melbourne Victory 3 - Central Coast Mariners 1||AUS1|
|01/03/2014||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Sydney FC 1||AUS1|
|25/02/2014||FC Seoul 2 - Central Coast Mariners 0||ACL|
|21/02/2014||Central Coast Mariners 1 - Wellington Phoenix 4||AUS1|
|14/02/2014||Adelaide United 2 - Central Coast Mariners 0||AUS1|
|4||Marcus Tulio Tanaka||Defender|
|20||Luis Danilson Córdoba||Midfielder|
|28||Mohammad Mustafa Amini||Midfielder|