Nagoya Grampus vs. Central Coast Mariners  3 - 0

Article

Arnold proud of Mariners´ effort

16 May 2012 08:03

Graham Arnold spoke of his pride as Central Coast Mariners' season came to an end with a 3-0 AFC Champions League defeat to Nagoya Grampus.

The Mariners needed a win in Tuesday's match to progress into the knockout stages of the ACL, but they found themselves 2-0 down by the 35th minute.

Nagoya captain Tulio Tanaka added another goal late in the second half to make it 3-0, bringing to a close a campaign in which Arnold's side won the A-League 's Premiers' Plate.

Arnold, who will stay at the club after turning down the chance to move to league rivals Sydney FC, spoke highly of his men's efforts over the entire 2011/12 campaign.

"It's been a wonderful season and I couldn't be prouder of my team. The players, the staff and everyone involved with the club has given their all to ensure we earned success this season," the Mariners coach said after the match.

"We played against a very good Nagoya team. I felt that probably up till 80 minutes, even though the score was 2-0, we had our chances but didn't score where they did score their chances."

With several youngsters involved for the Mariners, including highly rated attacking midfielder Tom Rogic and goalkeeper Mat Ryan, Arnold had nothing but praise for the experience his side would obtain in the ACL.

"It's been a wonderful experience for us to play in the AFC Champions League with a very young team," he said.

"We had five 20-year-olds on the field and they have had a wonderful season. It was great to get to this situation where the last game of the Champions League we were still in it.

"Overall, I think with a young team we did very well and I was very happy. We've learnt a real lot. With the young kids it's time for them to step up to another level."

Article

Japanese clubs delight in ACL progress

16 May 2012 03:58

Nagoya Grampus coach Dragan Stojkovic was not surprised by his team's 3-0 win over Central Coast in Tuesday's AFC Champions League clash.

Grampus, as well as fellow Japanese outfit Kashiwa Reysol, progressed to the final 16 of Asia's premier club competition on Tuesday after favourable results, joining compatriots FC Tokyo in the knockout phase.

"After winning 3-0, I can say it was a good game and a good result for us," the Serbian said.

"This is exactly what we expected, but the most important thing is that we achieved our goal in this group - qualifying for the next round.

"I think we are a better team than the Mariners, definitely, especially from the technical point of view. Our players understood well our tactical plans and it worked.

"We used a lot of space with big movement. For me, that was very important."

Grampus missed out on top spot in the group after Seongnam Ilhwa clinched a 3-0 away win at Tianjin Teda to finish first, and the Japanese now face an away trip to either Adelaide United, Pohang Steelers or Bunyodkor.

Stojkovic added: "It's a good result as we didn't lose. Of course, we expected to win against the Chinese team (Tianjin) Teda here, but we had a 0-0 draw.

"But the final result is satisfying. We played well in some games and we didn't play so good in some other games. But we played good enough to be in the first or the second place in the group."

Elsewhere, Kashiwa boss Nelsinho Baptista was delighted with his side's 2-0 away victory at Jeonbuk Motors which dumped last season's beaten finalists out of the competition.

"Jeonbuk are a tough team and we expected the counter-attack, but once we scored in the second half we had more chances and we could control the game," he said.

"The players were very confident before the game. We knew that Jeonbuk have been playing well in the K-League, but they were without their captain and we knew we had a chance."

Article

Kennedy out of crunch AFC Champions League match

15 May 2012 06:06

Nagoya Grampus' striker Josh Kennedy is out of their AFC Champions League clash with Australian club Central Coast Mariners with a back problem.

The big Australian has battled the complaint in recent weeks but played almost a whole game in Saturday's J-League win over Vissel Kobe.

However, Nagoya boss Dragan Stojkovic told reporters Kennedy would not face the Mariners in the clash, where the winner will progress to the knockout stage.

"Kennedy will not be in the team tomorrow. There is some problems with his condition. I respect his decision, so he will be out," Stojkovic said.

South Korean side Seongnam, who host bottom-placed Tianjin Teda in their final game, top Group G on seven points, ahead of Nagoya on goal difference, while the Mariners are third on six points.

"Tomorrow is an important and interesting game because both teams have a chance. Winning the game is the most important thing for tomorrow," Stojkovic said.

The Mariners have not played a competitive game since they thrashed Tianjin 5-1 in matchday five, following the conclusion of their A-League season.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold said he hoped that would enable his side to be fresh for the must-win encounter despite the absence of Oliver Bozanic, Troy Hearfield (both injury) and Pedj Bojic (suspension).

"In our last performance we beat Tianjin 5-1 and the players were extremely fresh and fit and we have worked hard on the training ground with a friendly in between to get ready for tomorrow night," Arnold said.

Article

Mariners look to curb Kennedy

14 May 2012 03:31

Central Coast defender Patrick Zwaanswijk is confident his side can nullify Qantas Socceroo Josh Kennedy when the two sides meet in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night.

The final matchday of the group stage sees the Mariners – who sit third – travel to Japan to face the second-placed Nagoya Grampus.

A win will seal Central Coast's berth in the next stage of the competition but if they draw, they will rely on Chinese side Tianjin Teda to thump current group leaders Seongham Ilhwa of South Korea.

That scenario is unlikely, meaning it will be all on the line for Graham Arnold's men at the Nagoya Mizuho Athletic Stadium.

And if they are to win they will need to stop Kennedy, who was the J.League's top scorer last season.

"I've seen the last five or six games of him with the National Team while I've been in Australia," Zwaanswijk said.

"He's a big guy, a tall guy so he's always dangerous inside the box. (But) we know he doesn't have a lot of pace so he's not going to beat us in that.

"The only thing where he can beat us is in the 18-yard-box, and that's where we have to keep him away from. If we play as well here (as we did in the home game) then I think we can beat them."

The Dutch veteran has not lost any of his passion despite approaching the end of his career and is enjoying competing in the AFC Champions League.

And he says the club's run in the competition has been a great experience for everyone involved with Central Coast, even if it ends on Tuesday.

"You want to play as many matches as you can, especially in the Champions League," Zwaanswijk said.

"It's not only good for the club, it's good for the name of the Mariners. I think it's a good experience for the guys as well. As long as we play well and prepare well we have to get a good match out of Tuesday."

Oliver Bozanic (knee) and Troy Hearfield (back) have not travelled to Japan while defender Pedj Bojic is suspended.

J1 League table

# Team MP D P
12 17 -3 21
13 17 -12 20
14 17 -6 19
15 17 +0 18
16 17 -5 18

A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0