Mariners to learn AFC Champions League fate

The Central Coast Mariners will tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 January), learn of their opponents for the group stage of their maiden AFC Champions League campaign, with the draw for the latest installment of Asia’s premier club competition set to take place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from 6pm AEDT.

The Central Coast Mariners will tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 January), learn of their opponents for the group stage of their maiden AFC Champions League campaign, with the draw for the latest installment of Asia-s premier club competition set to take place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from 6pm AEDT.

The Mariners and northern rivals the Newcastle Jets will each be grouped with one club side from China, Japan and the Korea Republic in the East Asian side of the AFC Champions League 2009 draw.

Qualified from China are recently crowned Chinese Super League (CSL) Champions Shandong Luneng Taishan, Runners-Up Shanghai Shenhua, along with Beijing Guoan and Tianjin Teda, who finished in third and fourth place in the 2008 CSL respectively.

Representing Japan are reigning AFC Champions League winners and Adelaide United adversaries Gamba Osaka, who qualified after claiming the Emperor-s Cup, along with J.League Champions Kashima Antlers, Runners-Up Kawasaki Frontale and Nagoya Grampus, who finished third.

From the Korea Republic-s K-League are Champions Suwon Bluewings, Runners-Up FC Seoul, third place getters Ulsan Horang-i and Korean FA Cup winners Pohang Steelers, who are another team to have met Adelaide United on their march to the AFC Champions League 2008 final.

The Mariners- AFC Champions League 2009 group stage campaign will begin with a match on Wednesday, 11 March and continue through to Wednesday, 20 May.

The draw ceremony will be broadcast live and exclusively on Fox Sports News from 6pm AEDT tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 January), with the actual draw component of the ceremony set to take place at approximately 6.22pm AEDT.

The Mariners are back at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday, 10 January when they host the Queensland Roar in Round 19 of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season. Kick off is at 7pm.

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