Mariners humbled by slick Kawasaki

The Central Coast Mariners have been dealt a harsh lesson by distinguished opposition in their latest AFC Champions League escapade this evening, with Japanese heavyweights Kawasaki Frontale trouncing an outclassed Mariners outfit 5-0 at Central Coast Stadium.

The Central Coast Mariners have been dealt a harsh lesson by distinguished opposition in their latest AFC Champions League escapade this evening, with Japanese heavyweights Kawasaki Frontale trouncing an outclassed Mariners outfit 5-0 at Central Coast Stadium.

Sometimes in football one can only pay tribute to an opponent that was the better team on the day and while the Mariners were below their best, there was to be no denying an exhilarating and efficient performance from one of the AFC Champions League title favourites tonight.

Three goals before the break and another two in the second stanza secured Kawasaki their second Group H win and thus ended the Mariners- two-match unbeaten run - Jong Tae-Se, Hiroyuki Taniguchi, Juninho, Kengo Nakamura and Renatinho supplying the goals.

Kawasaki carried the tag of one of Asia-s powerhouses with them into Australia and their gallery of stars duly delivered on a night that created a type of record which Mariners members and supporters will soon want to forget - that of the greatest loss in yellow and navy history.

Positives were indeed not as abundant as they so usually are following a Mariners performance in any competition, but the yellow and navy are far from down and out at the halfway point of the group stage of their maiden continental quest.

"They-re probably one of the best teams that we-ve played, but that-s not making an excuse for our poor performance," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna after the match.

"I-m embarrassed, that-s the worst result of my coaching career and I-ll take responsibility, but each individual player has to look at themselves as well and evaluate themselves.

"Nobody wants to go out and get beat 5-0, I-ll never use it as an excuse, but - they were good, we were poor."

After so nearly taking an early advantage following goal bound efforts from Shane Huke and Nik Mrdja, the Mariners were dealt a blow when Jong Tae-se nodded home from close range with eight minutes played.

From the outset, both the Mariners and Kawasaki showcased a brand of football far more open and enterprising than either of the Mariners- previous Asian battles and it was against the run of play, somewhat, that the home side-s momentum was halted by an expert marksman-s finish.

Fresh from contributing to DPR Korea-s march towards the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Jong Tae-se displayed great poise and precision to glance his near post header past Danny Vukovic and subsequently put the yellow and navy on the back foot for the second time in as many matches.

Unlike three weeks ago in Tianjin, however, the Mariners were unable to respond before their opponents could extend their advantage and conceded a second goal midway through the half from the head of Taniguchi.

Similar to the goals the Mariners conceded in China, Taniguchi was first to a corner from Brazilian Vitor Junior and duly glanced a sound effort past Vukovic and the Mariners- backline with a little help from the far post.

Winless in 2009 and short on confidence as a result, the Mariners were below their best for the remainder of the half and had Vukovic to thank for keeping Kawasaki at bay.

Juninho-s strike late in the half did take a huge deflection off Nigel Boogaard before resting between the posts, but this was no less than Kawasaki deserved for their territorial dominance that all but completely nullified the Mariners- attacking enterprise.

Standout midfielder and Kawasaki captain Nakamura built upon the visitors- vintage display only minutes into the second half with perhaps the most eye-catching goal of the evening from a passing perspective, before substitute Renatinho completed the rout with twenty minutes to play.

The Mariners- performance did lift towards the end of the match following the introduction of substitutes Ahmad Elrich, Adam Kwasnik and Andre Gumprecht, with the former two in particular combining well on a number of occasions to test Kawasaki ‘keeper Eiji Kawashima.

With Korea-s Pohang Steelers defeating Tianjin Teda 1-0 in this evening-s other Group H fixture, the Mariners are now three points outside of the all important top-two of their group with three games still to play, starting with a potentially redeeming trip to Kawasaki later this month.

"The best we can look at is getting second spot and if we can get to second spot from here it-s a great achievement and that-s what we have to target now," said McKinna.

"We have to consolidate, try to get a result in Japan and hopefully have an opportunity to progress in the last two games."

The Mariners- inaugural AFC Champions League campaign will continue at the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium on Tuesday, 21 April, when the yellow and navy will again face Kawasaki Frontale. Kick off is at 8pm AEST.

The Mariners will return to their Central Coast Stadium home for Match Day 6 of the AFC Champions League to face the challenge of Chinese Super League heavyweights Tianjin Teda on Tuesday, 19 May. Kick off is at 8pm.

Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website -, or via phone on 132 849.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 3. Shane Huke, 5. Bradley Porter, 7. John Hutchinson (2. Andre Gumprecht 73-), 8. Dean Heffernan, 9. Nik Mrdja (23. Adam Kwasnik 60-), 10. Adrian Caceres, 11. Dylan Macallister, 16. Nigel Boogaard, 17. Matthew Osman (21. Ahmad Elrich 58-), 18. Alex Wilkinson

Unused Subs 13. Paul O-Grady, 15. Andrew Clark, 22. Nick Rizzo, 30. Andrew Redmayne (gk)

Yellow Cards Osman 10- Red Cards None Goals None

Kawasaki Frontale 1. Eiji Kawashima (gk), 2. Hiroki Ito, 9. Jong Tae-se (34. Renatinho 65-), 10. Juninho, 11. Vitor Junior, 13. Shuhei Terada, 14. Kengo Nakamura, 18. Tomonobu Yokoyama, 19. Yusuke Mori (4. Yusuke Igawa 57-), 26. Kazuhiro Murakami, 29. Hiroyuki Taniguchi (8. Satoru Yamagishi 74-)

Unused Subs 6. Yusuke Tasaka, 7. Masaru Kurotsu, 17. Kosuke Kikuchi, 21. Takashi Aizawa (gk)

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals Jong Tae-se 8-, Taniguchi 22-, Juninho 37-, Nakamura 49-, Renatinho 70-

Referee Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan) Crowd 9,419