Experienced defender Eddy Bosnar believes Wednesday's clash with Beijing Guoan will be the toughest away game in Group F for the Mariners.
He scored a eye-catching goal from range to get Central Coast off the mark against Newcastle Jets in the F3 Derby on Saturday, however now experienced Mariners defender Eddy Bosnar has turned his focus to helping Phil Moss-s side take the game to Beijing Guoan in the AFC Champions League this week.
Bosnar, his teammates and the Mariners staff arrived in the Chinese capital in the early hours of Monday morning after a 20-hour journey from Sydney to Beijing via Shanghai.
Following the team-s first training session in the shadows of the 66,161-capacity Beijing Workers Stadium on Monday afternoon, Bosnar, who spent half a season in the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou R&F last year, said the yellow and navy would need to be on their game against one of the Middle Kingdom-s meanest outfits.
“Beijing Guoan is a really good team,” Bosnar, who enjoyed an extensive career in various Asian top flights before linking with the Mariners earlier this year, said. “Their foreigners are particularly good. I think the two boys upfront [Ecuadorian Joffre Guerrón and Nigerian Peter Utaka] are really good, especially Utaka with his speed.”
“Their South Korean midfielder, Ha Dae-sung, is a Korean national team player and was the captain of FC Seoul last year - a team that nearly won the Champions League.”
“So I think we are in for a very tough game, and I think this will be our toughest away game in the ACL due to all the games that we have played recently, the crowd, the Stadium - it can be very hard here especially if you don-t get a good start,” he explained.
Bosnar added that despite having to train on a less than ideal surface on Monday afternoon, the yellow and navy had put in a good first shift in the city home to over 21 million people.
And the former Shimizu S-Pulse, Suwon Bluewings and Sturm Graz stopper said that he is enjoying being part of a Club that has welcomed him with open arms.
Indeed, Bosnar-s passionate reaction to his first minute goal against Newcastle just a few days ago was in response to the warmth he feels he has received since linking with the men from Gosford-s idyllic bayside base.
“The boys trained really well today, concentrated, and no one complained [about the bumpy surface],” he said. “That-s the culture here - no one complains about the long trip, the pitches, and whatever else we get dealt. We-re just looking forward to Wednesday.”
“The boys have been fantastic. It-s the first time I have played in the A-League and I feel like I have been here for ten years now. The younger boys really respect the older boys, so I am glad that I have been taken in like a player that-s been here for a long time.”
“That game against Newcastle meant a lot to us,” he said. Bosnar admitted that there was an ounce of good fortune about his early goal against the Jets, but explained that he continually assesses opportunities to attempt the spectacular both in training and in games.
“I saw the goalkeeper [Mark Birighitti] off his line and he was all the way right,” Bosnar recalled. “I said to Hutch [John Hutchinson] ‘move- and he said ‘don-t even think about it, you-re crazy!-”
“A few weeks back at training we had a few of those situations and Hutch had the ball and he said to me ‘look, the ‘keeper is off his line-. It kind of sticks in your mind and you always think of doing something like that.”
“I put it down and had a go and I was lucky that the goalkeeper was confused and that the ball swerved, but if you don-t shoot, you don-t know,” he said.
Central Coast Mariners will train at the Beijing Workers Stadium on Tuesday afternoon before taking on Gregorio Manzano-s men infront of an anticipated crowd of over 30,000 fans on Wednesday evening.
Central Coast are currently in second place in 2014 AFC Champions League Group F following two matchdays. The Mariners have three points following a win and a loss from their opening two games, while Beijing Guoan (third place) have two points following consecutive 1-1 draws in their opening two fixtures.
Central Coast Mariners Squad vs. Beijing Guoan: 1. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Storm ROUX, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Bernie IBINI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong, 27. Isaka CERNAK, 28. Glen TRIFIRO, 29. Matt SIM
Beijing Guoan vs. Central Coast Mariners FC - 2014 AFC Champions League Group F Matchday 3 Wednesday 19 March 2014 Workers Stadium, Beijing Kick-off: 7:30pm (local); 10:30pm (AEDT) Television: Watch the match LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS 2 & 2HD Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter using #BEIvCCM