After conceding a humiliating goal and watching Sanfrecce Hiroshima honor the three-year anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2011, Central Coast Mariners finally got on the board and back into Group F of the Champions League. Two Mile Sterjovski goals were the first for the Mariners in this campaign and were just enough to take all three points on Tuesday night at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford. With a draw between FC Seoul and Beijing Guoan at the Workers Stadium, the Mariners finish Match Day 2 in second place.
Defender Tsukasa Shiotani slipped through the Mariners defense completely unmarked and sent a header into the ground in the 21st minute. Despite having Seung-Yong Kim stationed on the far post, the ball bounced over the Korean's attempted headed clearance and embarrassingly into the net. Hiroshima marked the 3/11 anniversary with a celebration that has now gone viral:
Yet Sterjovski needed just two minutes to equalize for the hosts with Kim redeeming himself with the assist on a through ball. Nine minutes later, in the 32nd minute, Sterjovski blasted a second past Takuto Hayashi and into the top left corner after taking a deflection. Liam Reddy made a strong save on Asano Takuma's 79th minute shot and substitute Yusuke Minagawa nearly equalized in the 88th, but the Mariners held firm.
The Mariners return to Champions League action next week with a trip to China against Beijing Guoan on Wednesday March 19. But first Central Coast will play host to Newcastle Jets on Saturday March 15 in a vitally important A-League fixture.
SAN Shiotani 21'
CCM Sterjovski (Kim) 23'
CCM Sterjovski 32'
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Rose, Anderson, Bosnar, Roux; Hutchinson, Mongtomery, Fitzgerald (Ibini 68'); Simon (Duke 60'), Sterjovski (Sim 85'), Kim
Unused substitutes: Pasfield, Griffiths, Cernak, Trifiro
Sanfrecce Hiroshima: Hayashi; Mizumoto, Chiba, Park, Shiotani; Aoyama, Takahagi (Kawabe 80'), Shibasaki (Minagawa 87'), Kashiwa (Notsuda 54'); Takuma, Ishihara
Unused substitutes: Masuda, Chajima, Marutani, Miyahara