Mariners Turn To Champions League

Source: News Limited/
Mat Ryan will be vital in goal when Suwon Bluewings visit Gosford on Wednesday. Image courtesy of Ltd
Central Coast couldn’t have tuned up any better for their AFC Champions League clash with South Korean side Suwon Bluewings than they did in their 6-2 demolition of top three side Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

Their opposition this week is far more of an unknown quantity than Ange Postecoglou’s Victory side. The Bluewings have finished fourth in the K-League the past two years, but the country’s 2013 football season doesn’t officially kick off until March 2. The team based just south of Seoul does have a good history in this competition, though, getting to the semi-finals in 2011, the quarters in 2010 and the round of 16 the year before.

Suwon has a couple of international forwards in Dzenan Radoncic from Montenegro and Macedonian striker Stevica Ristic, but the most interesting name in the team is Australian Eddy Bosnar. The 32-year-old played in the old National Soccer League with both the Newcastle Breakers and the Northern Spirit, where he came under the guidance of current Mariners boss Graham Arnold. The defender and Arnold apparently parted on bad terms, so Bosnar will no doubt be up for a massive game against his former coach. Bosnar gained notoriety around the world when he smashed home a free kick in the K-League last season clocked as a 123 km/h thunderbolt, so the Mariners will need to be careful not to give away fouls close to the box.

Central Coast has an awful record in the Champions League winning just one of 12 starts in two campaigns. That solitary win did come at home last season when the Mariners thrashed Chinese side Tianjin Teda FC 5-1, but their other five appearances in Gosford have ended in three draws and two defeats. Two of those home draws came against South Korean opposition with a 0-0 result against Pohang Steelers in 2009 and a 1-1 stalemate when Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma visited in 2012.

Suwon has come to Australia just once previously in the AFC Champions League, and that trip finished with a 0-0 draw with Sydney FC in 2011

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