Central Coast Mariners went from bottom to top of Champions League Group F with a 1-0 win over Beijing Guoan at Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday. The second half goal snagged all three points and provided a bounce past the other three teams in the group, each of whom is currently on five points. The Mariners have six points through four games. FC Seoul held Sanfrecce Hiroshima to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday in Korea in Group F's other game.
A fortnight ago, the Mariners were defeated 2-1 at the Workers Stadium with only an extremely late Nick Fitzgerald penalty to show for their efforts. In the return leg, though only 3316 turned out to see the home side play, Central Coast held it together and relied on Liam Reddy for a massive save on a 67th minute Guoan penalty. Reddy dramatically denied Zhang Xizhe six minutes before Marcel Seip scored a brilliant goal for the Mariners.
With only one point separating Central Coast from its Group F rivals, advancement is by no means guaranteed. But with a home game on Match Day 5 against FC Seoul, the Mariners can put themselves in a very strong position. That game will not take place until Wednesday April 16 and Central Coast will have its two final A-League matches between now and then. First up is a trip across the country to play Perth Glory on Saturday April 5 with a chance to stay in second place in the domestic competition and earn a bye to the semifinal round of the A-League finals.
CCM Seip (Kim) 73'
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Rose, Seip, Anderson (Roux 55'); Griffiths, Montgomery, Hutchinson, Kim (Trifiro 87'), Cernak (Fitzgerald 70'); Duke, Ibini
Unused substitues: Pasfield, Caceras, Sterjovski, Sim
Beijing Guoan: Zhi; Yang, Ting, Yunlong; Hejing; Matic; Mendez, Xizhe (Tiancheng 82'), Utaka (Boxuan 59'), Jiayi, Cheng (Sung 82')
Unused substitutes: Sipeng, Xiaobin, Yun, Hanbo