John Hutchinson believes Sanfrecce Hiroshima are the biggest team to play on the Central Coast since the Mariners began life as a Hyundai A-League franchise in 2005.
Central Coast Mariners skipper John Hutchinson admits he-s expecting a tough contest against J.League heavyweights Sanfrecce Hiroshima in their 2014 AFC Champions League group stage clash at Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Both sides will be looking to record maximum points for the first time this campaign as the yellow and navy suffered a 2-0 loss to Korea Republic-s FC Seoul on Matchday 1, while Sanfrecce grabbed a point in their 1-1 draw with Chinese Super League outfit Beijing Guoan a fortnight ago.
“For me in nine years at this Club, this is the biggest team to come to the Central Coast,” Hutchinson said on Monday. “We were lucky enough to have (Guangzhou) Evergrande here last year, but to have the J.League Champions here is fantastic.”
“The J.League for me is the best league in Asia. Some of the quality we will be playing against tomorrow night is going to be fantastic. I know the boys are up for the challenge to test our team to see where we are.”
“We know we-ve made a lot of changes from last season but we-re excited by what-s ahead of us,” he said.
Despite defeat, Hutchinson says his side-s opening AFC Champions League Group F match away in the South Korean capital two weeks ago came at a perfect time and insists the Mariners will need to be on their toes to get a result against the purple-whites tomorrow night. “In Korea, we kind of went back to basics. We looked at the culture of the players, the Club and the change room and we spoke about that,” he explained.
“We know our defensive structure this season hasn-t been the best at times. (Sanfrecce) are a quality side and we know what we need to do with and without the ball. If we open ourselves up against a quality team like them, they will punish us.”
Dutch defender Marcel Seip will miss the encounter for Phil Moss-s team after receiving a red card against the K-League Classic heavyweights on his debut in Asia-s top club competition.
2014 AFC Champions League Matchday 2 (Group F) - Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tuesday 11 March 2014 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:30pm Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! We-ll be using #CCMvSH Tickets: www.Ticketek.com.au or buy a 3 match pass for just $30 HERE.