Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has not held back in the praise of his Mariners players, after his side secured a superb 1-0 victory in Korea over Suwon
|By RYAN McGEE
The efforts of the Central Coast Mariners players to clinch a 1-0 win in their AFC Champions League meeting with Suwon Bluewings on Tuesday left coach Graham Arnold "amazed".
Substitute Michael McGlinchey's goal in the 80th minute was enough to secure all three points for the Mariners at the Suwon World Cup Stadium, fresh off the back of their A-League championship win on Sunday.
Arnold said the result - elevating Central Coast to second in Group H - was better than he had hoped for, having landed in South Korea less than a day before kick-off.
"We arrived here at 10:30pm last night after 16 hours of travel. To put in a performance like that is out of this world," he said.
"I'm just amazed by that performance away from home against a team that is coming second in the K-League. It's a sensational result for Australian football.
"They [the players] have gone above my expectations tonight with what they've done."
The result knocks K-League side Suwon out of the competition, and manager Seo Jun-Won said fatigue may have played a factor in the loss.
"I feel really sorry for this defeat. We had difficulties in the physical aspect as we play every game in three days. And important players were injured, so we could not play our football," he said.
"We only scored two goals in the ACL. In [the] home game, [our] opponents tend to play a defensive game and we could not break it. We'll focus on K-League but we won't ignore the last match against Guizhou [next Tuesday]."
With Central Coast now preparing to face table toppers Kashiwa Reysol on Tuesday, Arnold was confident that the Mariners would be able to get a positive result to qualify for the next phase.
"If we can win at home, it's history, "he said.
"When I came here the Mariners we had never won a game in the ACL. Our campaign this year has been a very good one. We've had two wins and a draw."
"If we can perform the way we did tonight and play the way we have been playing at home to Reysol then hopefully we can get the result we need."