KOREA Republic’s Suwon Bluewings return to the AFC Champions League on Wednesday against A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners with new coach Seo Jung-won promising attractive football as the K-League side begin their pursuit of a third continental title.
CHECK CCMariners.com.au on Wednesday for video from both Central Coast Mariners' and Suwon Bluewings' official pre-match press conference, plus articles covering both teams ahead of AFC Champions League matchday 1.
KOREA Republic-s Suwon Bluewings return to the AFC Champions League on Wednesday against A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners with new coach Seo Jung-won (pictured playing for the Club, above) promising attractive football as the K-League side begin their pursuit of a third continental title.
Former Korea international and club legend Seo took over from Yoon Sung-hyo after Suwon finished fourth in the K-League last season to earn a return to the AFC Champions League courtesy of Pohang Steelers- FA Cup win having reached the semi-finals in 2011.
And with Seo having played a central role as Suwon won back-to-back Asian Club Championship titles in 2001 and 2002, the 42-year-old former winger has now set his sights on toppling Asia once again in his first head coaching role.
“Every coach wants to be a champion, and I am no different. However, showing that Suwon can play attractive football is more important than winning titles,” said Seo, who represented Korea at two FIFA World Cups in 1994 and 1998 before retiring in 2007.
“I will do my best to make sure we show the real Suwon, the Suwon who can conquer Asia.
“There is no easy team this season. We will not be overconfident and we will try our best in every game we play.”
New signing Jong Tae-se is set to make his first competitive appearance for Suwon on Wednesday after the DPR Korea international joined in January with the former Kawasaki Frontale striker having spent the last two years in Germany with Vfl Bochum and FC Koln.
“Jong Tae-se has much potential. He is fast, very combative and scores goals calmly. My duty is to help him pull up his potential to the highest level,” added Seo.
“Jong Tae-se is the kind of player who is ready to sacrifice for his fellow players. I am expecting that he will be a great help to our team.”
With the new K-League Classic season set to start next month, defending Australian Premiers Central Coast welcome Suwon to Central Coast Stadium, Gosford having regained the lead at the top of the A-League table with a timely 6-2 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Midfielder Michael McGlinchey scored a hat-trick and striker Mitchell Duke added a brace as Graham Arnold-s Mariners made ideal preparations for the start of their second consecutive AFC Champions League appearance having appeared in the group stage last season.
Daniel McBreen was unable to add to his A-League tally at the weekend, although Suwon will need to keep an eye on the well-travelled striker, with the 35-year-old having netted 15 times for the Mariners this season.
“Last year in our first couple of games in the AFC Champions League we weren-t too sure what to expect, but now we know what to expect and we can go out with confidence,” said McBreen, who scored twice for the Mariners in the group stage last year.
“We know we can beat the teams and we can get the three points.”
Also in Group H on Wednesday, Chinese Super League side Guizhou Renhe begin their maiden AFC Champions League campaign at home to Japanese Emperor-s Cup winner Kashiwa Reysol.
Last year represented Guizhou-s best top-flight finish in eight years, while Gao Hongbo-s side also lost 5-3 on aggregate to domestic double winners Guangzhou Evergrande in the FA Cup final.
Gao, though, will not be in the dugout on Wednesday after the former China coach stepped down just before the start of pre-season training to be replaced by assistant Gong Lei.
Kashiwa, meanwhile, reached the Round of 16 on their debut appearance last year before losing 3-2 to eventual champions Ulsan Hyundai.
2013 AFC Champions League Matchday 1 - Central Coast Mariners (AUS) vs. Suwon Bluewings (KOR) Wednesday 27 February, 2013 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:00pm Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match! Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter. The official hash-tag is #CCMvSB