Mariners Chase Chinese Rivals

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Guangzhou won 2-1 against the Mariners in the first leg. Image courtesy of
The Central Coast Mariners  must beat Guangzhou  in China on Wednesday night to qualify for the AFC Champions League quarter-finals after suffering a 2-1  defeat at Bluetongue Stadium in the opening leg of their round of 16 tie last week.

Guangzhou, widely regarded as the best club side in Asia, continued their winning run with a 4-1  victory over Liaoning Whowin in the Chinese Super League on the weekend despite resting several key players with a view to this fixture. Lucas Barrios, who was on the scoresheet in the opening leg, came off the bench with fellow South American Dario Conca and managed to score a brace, while none of skipper Zheng Zhi, striker Gao Lin and attacker Muriqui were asked to play the full 90 minutes.

Having already sealed their maiden A-League title by beating the Western Sydney Wanderers in the grand final last month, the Central Coast squad has remained in training with a view to advancing to the last eight of this competition for the first time. Graham Arnold has no fresh injury concerns going into this match, which will be the last one for defender Patrick Zwaanswijk before he retires.

The enormity of the task face the Mariners can be seen by Guangzhou’s results at home this season. They are yet to concede a goal in three Champions League fixtures at the Tianhe Stadium and thumped Thai outfit Muangthong United 4-0  here in April.

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