Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has heaped praise on his side claiming they could have scored 10 goals in their 5-1 thrashing of Tianjin Teda in Tuesday's AFC Champions League clash at Bluetongue Stadium.
The result kept the Mariners in the hunt to qualify through to the Round of 16 in Group G, as they moved into third spot on six points, one behind leaders Seongnam Ilhwa and Nagoya Grampus ahead of the final matchday.
“It could easily have been 10. I always remind the boys before they do go out to play in the AFC Champions League, they are representing the nation,” Arnold told reporters after the game.
He continued: “We’ve created history tonight for the Mariners. I think it was one of our better performances. I think you can put a lot of that down to the fact that the boys are fresh.
“It was a fantastic performance and it just shows what the Australian teams can do if they’re fresh against the Asian opposition.”
The Mariners must travel to Japan to face 2011 J-League runners-up Nagoya Grampus in their final group game, where nothing less than victory is likely to be enough to progress.
“We are absolutely still in it with six points. We have performed well so far except for the Seongnam game and there were reasons for that. We have got two weeks before Nagoya and we know what we have to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tianjin boss Josip Kuze - whose side are now eliminated - admitted the Mariners deserved the victory.
"Full credit to the Central Coast Mariners, they played well and fully deserved the win," Kuze said.