The Central Coast Mariners can advance to the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League for the first time by defeating Nagoya Campus in Japan tonight. The Mariners are one point behind Nagoya and Seongham Ilhwa FC in Group G on six points and need a win to go through, while their opponents will be guaranteed a place in the next round with a draw .
The Japanese side has been struck a cruel blow going into the match, with Socceroo strike Josh Kennedy ruled out of the match through injury. The visitors will also be without the service of some key personnel, with Oliver Bozanic suffering from a knee injury and right-back Pedj Bojic suspended.
Nagoya defeated Vissel Kobe 1-0 away from home in the J-League on Saturday, while Central Coast haven’t played since registering a 5-1 win over Tianjin Teda in this competition at the start of the month. When these clubs locked horns on gameweek two, nothing could separate the sides and the match ended 1-1 .
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