The Central Coast Mariners have kept themselves in contention for a second round spot in the Asian Champions League with a dominant 5-1 victory over Chinese side Tianjin Teda in Gosford tonight.
A brace from Daniel McBreen and goals to Josh Rose, Michael McGlinchey and Mustafa Amini helped secure the Mariners’ first ever win in the continental competition.
Tianjin Teda’s attack has been much maligned this ACL campaign, notching just the lone goal.
The visitors were presented a golden chance to open the scoring after just two minutes when a slip from Alex Wilkinson allowed Sjoerd Ars through on goal.
Fortunately for the Mariners the shot rebounded off the near post and danger was averted.
The home side responded to the early scare in the best possible fashion when McBreen netted the opener in the 10th minute.
It was the ideal way for the evergreen marksman to celebrate his one-year contract extension with the club.
Rejuvenated after a fortnight’s break the Mariners were in a menacing mood, and were displaying the type of form that took them to the premiership during the A-League season.
A dominant midfield performance and the combativeness of Pedj Bojic was creating plenty of chances for the strikers and it wasn’t long before they took full advantage.
McBreen was on hand to blast home a delightful cross from Bojic doubling his and the Mariners’ tally.
Another defensive slip gave Ars another chance, before a strong challenge from Bojic ensured that the home side would retain their two-goal advantage at halftime.
A brilliant strike from Josh Rose off his non-preferred right foot four minutes into the second half gave the Mariners an unassailable 3-nil lead.
Kwasnik went close with two strong chances, but Tianjin’s keeper stood tall to deny the striker. McBreen thought he had done enough to net his hat-trick in the 71st minute but it wasn’t to be with Michael McGlinchey finishing the movement with a well-taken goal.
Still celebrating, Liao Bochao caught the Mariners off-guard with a consolation goal.
Just like Matt Simon before him, Mustafa Amini gave the Mariners fans something special to remember in his farewell game before linking with German side Borussia Dortmund.
The midfielder demonstrated perfect technique with a stinging low drive to complete the rout.
Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold was thrilled with the performance of his charges tonight, believing it was the boost his side needed as they look towards advancing to the knock-out stages of the Asian Champions League.
“It was a fantastic performance. It shows what Australian teams can do against Asian competition when they are fresh,” Arnold said.
“It very easily could have been 10.”
“We are still in it. It gives us confidence going into the game against Nagoya Grampus in two weeks. We just need to continue our good form in training,” Arnold said.
Tianjin Teda coach Josip Kuze, the man Arnold credits for giving him his first break in football as a player at Sydney Olympic in 1982, conceded that his side was comprehensively outplayed tonight.
Reiterating a problem that faces all sides in the Asian competition, the coach felt that the travel was a difficult hurdle for his players to overcome.
Kuze didn’t make any excuses for his side’s lacklustre performance.
“Full credit to the Central Coast Mariners, they played well and fully deserved the win,” Kuze said.