Three points are crucial for the Central Coast Mariners if they are to keep in touch with the top two in Group H, while Guizhou Renhe are facing the same scenario
|By DEJAN KALINIC
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, RoseMontgomery, Hutchinson, McGlinchey
Rao Weihui, Nano, Sun Jihai, Zhang Chenglin
Yu Hai, Salley, Yang Hao, Chen JieZvjezdan Misimovic, Zlatan Muslimovic
Central Coast and Guizhou Renhe are the two bottom sides in Group H and, given this encounter marks the half-way point of this stage, a win is a must – particularly for the Mariners.
Graham Arnold's men will travel for two of their last three matches so a strong result at home is crucial on Wednesday.
The Mariners had the luxury of resting several key players in the final round of the A-League as they secured a 2-1 win over the Melbourne Heart.
With almost 19-20 relatively fresh players to choose from, anything but a victory against the Chinese outfit should be considered a failure this time around.
Guizhou Renhe got their first win of the Chinese Super League season on Friday, with former Wolfsburg star Zvjezdan Misimovic showing his value.
They will miss defender Wu Wei and midfielder Qu Bo because of injuries and are a tiring side.
Bosnia and Herzegovina international Misimovic will have travelled to three continents in 12 days, but Guizhou are aiming for at least four points from their two clashes against the Mariners.
Central Coast need to start producing their A-League form in continental competition and this is a huge chance for the Mariners.
This is the third time the Mariners have been in the AFC Champions League and they are aiming for just their second win.
They have the quality and are defensively strong, but must take their chances when they come and get their visitors attacking them to create more opportunities on the counter-attack.This match is far too important for Central Coast to be dropping points and expect Arnold's freshened up outfit to take advantage against tiring Chinese opposition.
Guizhou Renhe undoubtedly have the quality to break open the Mariners defence but Central Coast have regularly shown they are prepared to scrap and fight for three points.
Arnold's compact outfit need a win and the coach knows as much, meaning they will be doing everything to keep their AFC Champions League campaign alive with a victory.