Mariners In Must-Win Situation

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Central Coast needs to improve its record in the AFC Champions League. Image courtesy of
Central Coast has won just one match in 14 starts in the AFC Champions League. That victory came against Chinese Super League team Tianjin Teda FC last season when the Mariners thumped the visitors 5-1 at Bluetongue Stadium, and ripe for the picking is another team from the People’s Republic when Guizhou Renhe visits Gosford on Wednesday night. While the Mariners are gearing up for the A-League finals, the CSL is just three games old.

Guizhou has been through eleven name changes over the years and almost as many uniform alterations, but the club has been a constant in the Chinese Super League since 2002. Australian defender Dino Djulbic spent the past two years there when the team was known as Guizhou Moutai before moving to the United Arab Emirates this season. The Chinese side has strengthened its attack with former Bosnia and Herzegovina international Zvjezdan Misimovic coming to the club after winning the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg, along with stints at Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray and Dynamo Moscow.

Misimovic is part of a Bosnian one-two punch with veteran Zlatan Muslimovic playing up front. He scored 12 goals last season while the services of Spanish striker Rafa Jorda, who scored seven times in 2012, can also be called upon. Former A-League journeyman Jonas Salley plays as a central midfielder while evergreen back, Sun Jihai, who spent six seasons with Manchester City, is the team’s most experienced player.

Both teams were involved in 0-0 draws with South Korean side Suwon Bluewings while both suffered defeats to J League outfit Kashiwa Reysol; the Mariners going down 3-1 in Japan while Guizhou lost 1-0 at home.

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