Monty: Massive match against Marcello's men

CENTRAL Coast Mariners midfielder Nick Montgomery says his side are expecting a tough contest in the first leg of the knockout stages of the 2013 AFC Champions League against Guangzhou Evergrande at Central Coast Stadium next Wednesday.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners midfielder Nick Montgomery says his side are expecting a tough contest in the first leg of the knockout stages of the 2013 AFC Champions League against Guangzhou Evergrande at Central Coast Stadium next Wednesday.

“Guangzhou are a massive team,” Montgomery said. “They have a World Cup winning manager and some big name players on big salaries. They are going to be a big test for us and it-s a massive game for the Mariners.”

“It is going to be huge for the boys, the Club and Australian football. To reach the last 16 is a big achievement, and it shows how well we have done this season.”

Montgomery says the Mariners will be looking to claim maximum points against the back-to-back Chinese Super League winners next Wednesday, before travelling to Guangzhou for the second leg at Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday 22 May.

“It-s very important that we get a result at home, we-ve made it our fortress this season. To get a result against them would be massive, it would definitely help us when we head to China,” he said.

The former Sheffield United midfielder says he is looking forward to welcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi to the Central Coast next week.

“It is going to be huge having him here,” he said. “For any manager to win the World Cup, you can-t really do any more than that. He-s a massive name in world football and it will be nice having him in Gosford. It just shows how well we-ve done this season and we deserve to be playing against them.”

A strong crowd is expected at Central Coast Stadium for the Club-s encounter with the ‘Southern China Tigers- next Wednesday, and Montgomery has called on all football fans to come along and support his troops.

“They can come and see a World Cup winning manager and some big name players. They should want to come and watch us as well as we-ve been entertaining all season. If you support football, you should make your way to Gosford and support the Australian team.”

Along with Lippi in the Guangzhou technical area, Evergrande feature Argentine midfielder Dario Conca - once world football-s third highest paid player behind Cristiano Ronald and Lionel Messi.

Evergrande also possesses former BVB Borussia Dortmund striker Lucas Barrios, as well as Brazilian attacking ace Muriqui.

Much of the Chinese National Team will also be in Australia for the game, with up to eight players included in China-s last squad for a 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifying match against Iraq in March set to travel to Gosford for the game.

Among these players are Evergrande and China PR captain Zheng Zhi, goalkeeper Zheng Cheng, defender Sun Xiang, and striker Gao Lin.

Central Coast Mariners (AUS) vs. Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) 2013 AFC Champions League Round of 16 First-Leg Wednesday 15 May, 2013 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:30pm Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match. Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter. The official hash tag for the game is #CCMvGE