Mariners remain undefeated in Asia

Central Coast Mariners have recorded a 1-all draw with Korean side Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in Tuesday night’s AFC Champions League Group G clash at Central Coast Stadium, despite playing the majority of the second half a man down after Josh Rose was sent off.

Central Coast Mariners have recorded a 1-all draw with Korean side Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in Tuesday night-s AFC Champions League Group G clash at Central Coast Stadium, despite playing the majority of the second half a man down after Josh Rose was sent off.

Rose was dismissed in the 61st minute for a challenge inside the penalty box. Tricky Brazilian Hevertinho stepped up to take the penalty for Seongnam but failed to convert when he struck the cross bar.

A poacher-s goal from Mariners forward Adam Kwasnik in the 50th minute was cancelled out by Seongnam striker Everton dos Santos just seven minutes later, as both teams were forced to share the spoils.

On loan striker John Sutton looked the most likely to find a way through the Seongnam defence in the first half. His first sight on goal came in the 16th minute when he sent a long-range shot over the bar.

Sutton-s next attempt proved to be the best chance of the first half from either side. Some fancy footwork from the Mariners marksman turned the Seongnam defence inside out and his right footed shot sailed just wide of the goal, leaving Seongnam goal keeper Ha Kang Jin rooted to the spot.

Seongnam-s Heverton Duraes Coutinho Alves had his sides- best chance of the opening half, but he failed to hit the target after he climbing highest and earning himself an attempt on goal.

As the half went on both sides settled and began to play more enterprising football. However neither team was able to capitalise despite several strong opportunities and the two combatants went to half time with the score still tied at nil-all.

The Mariners came out looking the more aggressive of the two sides to begin the second half and had Seongnam on the back foot early. The yellow and navy came close to scoring barely a minute into the half, but Kwasnik-s curling right-footed shot was denied by the goal post.

As the pace quickened both sides became vulnerable to counter attacks and it was Kwasnik who drew first blood for the Mariners.

Kwasnik opened the scoring after Seongnam goalkeeper Kang Jin was unable to control a strike from veteran Mariners attacker Daniel McBreen. The ball then fell to the feet of the ever-present Kwasnik who tapped the ball into the back of the net to send the crowd of just over 5000 into a frenzy.

The Mariners- celebrations were short lived however, as Seongnam wasted little time levelling the score at one goal apiece. Everton found himself with plenty of room to move inside the Mariners penalty area and coolly slotted the ball passed Mariners custodian Mat Ryan.

After Rose was sent off the momentum was firmly in favour of the visitors. However Seongnam was unable to capitalise on their numbers advantage and had to settle for a draw.

Striker Vladimir Jovanovic missed a golden opportunity to give the away side the lead in the 77th minute when he inexplicably sent his strike out of the stadium from six yards out.

The Mariners almost managed to steal all three points in the 87th minute after Sutton launched a header straight at Kang Jin forcing a great reaction save from the Seongnam stopper.

The result sees the Mariners sitting equal with Seongnam on three points in Group G of the AFC Champions League. Both sides have recorded three draws from as many games.

Post-match, Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold praised his charges performance and outlined his teams ambition to make the second round of the 2012 AFC Champions League.

“I can-t be prouder of the boys,” Arnold said.

“The effort that we put in was incredible, and was made even tougher with the send off, so ten men.”

“We stuck with a four-three-two and we went for the win because we wanted obviously to try and get the three points.”

“The second round of the ACL, that-s our next goal as well as obviously the semi-final series.”

“We have a huge respect for the Asian Champions League and we have a responsibility to perform not only for the A-League but for the whole of Australia,” he concluded.

Match Details Central Coast Mariners 1 (Kwasnik 50-) Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 1 (Everton 57-)

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN (21. Sam GALLAGHER 67-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (12. Troy HEARFIELD 72-), 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 19. John SUTTON, 23. Adam KWASNIK (9. Bernie IBINI 78-)

Subs not used: 10. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Tomas ROGIC, 20. Justin PASFIELD (Gk)

Yellow Cards None

Red Cards ROSE 62-

Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma: 1. Ha KANG JIN (Gk), 3. Young SUN, 6. Park JIN PO, 9. EVERTON, 10. Vladimir JOVANCIC, 11. SANGWUN (22. Jeon SUNGCHAN 57-), 14. Yoon BIT GA RAM (8. Kim SUNG JOON 85-), 16. Kim SUNGWHAN (C), 19. Namkung WOONG (12. Hong CHUL 46-), 20. HEVERTINHO, 35. Lim JONG EUN

Subs not used: 5. Lee JAE KWANG, 18. Lee CHANGHOON, 21. Joeng SAN (Gk), 27. Sim JAEMYUNG

Yellow Cards JONG EUN 66-

Red Cards None

Referee Kovalenko VALENTIN (Uzbekistan)

Crowd 5,018