thumbnail Hello,
Live

AFC Champions League

  • March 11, 2014
  • • 16:30
  • • Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
  • Referee: Abdulrahman Abdou
  • • Attendance: 2168
2
FT
1

Mariners-Sanfrecce Preview: J-League champions favourites in Gosford

Mariners-Sanfrecce Preview: J-League champions favourites in Gosford

Getty Images

Phil Moss and his beleaguered players have their work cut out for them stopping the Japanese heavyweights when the two sides clash on matchday two of the ACL

It doesn't look pretty for the Central Coast Mariners heading to the climax of the 2013-14 A-League season, and the AFC Champions League is unlikely to offer any respite. As we all know, the squad which Graham Arnold took to the A-League title and last season's ACL knockout stages has been gutted, and the coach himself has moved on. Phil Moss has been able to bring in players to replace the numerous departures, but they don't appear to have quite same quality, and if even they do, it certainly isn't apparent yet. Six defeats from seven in all competitions tells you everything you need to know about the Mariners' prospects both at home and abroad. They lost 2-0 away to FC Seoul on matchday one of the 2014 ACL, and another home defeat here against the Japanese title-holders will make it all but impossible for them to escape the group.

Confidence must be low for the Mariners. Moss insists he has faith in the quality of the players at his disposal, but do they have faith in each other? On Friday night Central Coast dominated possession and created several chances through careful probing away to Melbourne Victory, but fell behind and never recovered, despite drawing level in the second half. The new players are yet to fully settle and those left behind after the exodus are still learning how best to play with their new colleagues. Next season may bring improved fortunes for the Gosford side, but it looks like more short-term pain before they get there.

Getting off the mark in the ACL will be a priority for Sanfrecce, who have made a fast start in the J-League, winning both of their opening two matches, as well as avenging last season's Emperor's Cup loss by beating Yokohama F Marinos in the curtain-raising Super Cup. But they were held to a 1-1 draw by Beijing Guoan in their ACL group stage opener, and will want to make up for that by claiming maximum points against a team who are likely to be viewed by their three opponents as the group's whipping boys.

Zach Anderson, deprived in recent weeks of regular partner Trent Sainsbury following his move to PEC Zwolle, did his very best to keep out the Victory on Friday night and even scored the equaliser to get his team back in it, before unfortunately handling in the area to give away the penalty which sent the hosts on the way to the win. Eddy Bosnar could return to partner Anderson ahead of Brent Griffiths, or Marcel Seip could come back inside after deputising at right-back in place of the injured Josh Rose against Victory. But Anderson is now the undisputed main man in the Mariners' backline and will need to be on his game if Moss and his players are to get anything against Sanfrecce.

Given Central Coast's struggles home and away in domestic competition and their underwhelming start to the ACL away to FC Seoul, we can't see anything other than a routine win for the Japanese visitors, who are sure to control possession and move the ball with ease and at speed, leaving a tired looking Mariners outfit in for a tough night in front of their own fans.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
Asia - AFC Champions League ‎(ACL)‎ Apr 23, 2014 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1 - Central Coast Mariners 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Asia - AFC Champions League ‎(ACL)‎ Mar 11, 2014 Central Coast Mariners 2 - Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Liam ReddyGoalkeeper
3Joshua RoseDefender
5Zachary AndersonDefender
-Storm RouxDefender
12Eddy BosnarDefender
7John HutchinsonMidfielder
18Nick MontgomeryMidfielder
-Seung-Yong KimMidfielder
-Nick FitzgeraldStriker
-Matt SimonStriker
21Mile SterjovskiMidfielder
16Justin PasfieldGoalkeeper
13Brent GriffithsDefender
-Matt SimonDefender
19I. CernakMidfielder
-Glen TrifiroMidfielder
24Mitchell DukeStriker
9Bernie Ibini-IseiStriker
-Takuto HayashiGoalkeeper
4Hiroki MizumotoDefender
5Kazuhiko ChibaDefender
17Hyung-Jin ParkMidfielder
33Tsukasa ShiotaniDefender
6Toshihiro AoyamaMidfielder
10Yojiro TakahagiMidfielder
18Yoshifumi KashiwaMidfielder
-Kosei ShibasakiMidfielder
9Naoki IshiharaStriker
29Takuma AsanoStriker
13Takuya MasudaGoalkeeper
24Gakuto NotsudaMidfielder
-Yusuke ChajimaMidfielder
28Takuya MarutaniMidfielder
-Hayao KawabeMidfielder
-Kazuya MiyaharaMidfielder
-Yusuke MinagawaStriker

From the web