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Mariners Blow it in Asian Champions League



Central Coast’s Asian Champions League dream is over as their long winless streak continued with a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to the Pohang Steelers in Korea on Tuesday.

A second-half double to winger Adam Kwasnik looked to have the Mariners heading for victory in the must-win match after Brazilian striker Denilson had given Pohang the lead with a seventh-minute penalty.

But Denilson capitalised on some poor defending to strike again in the 70th and 88th minutes to seal a hat-trick and make it impossible for the Mariners to progress to the knockout stages.

Central Coast, who have drawn two and lost three matches in their maiden ACL campaign, are without a win in any competition in 2009.

The loss leaves them anchored in last place in Group H on two points and they cannot finish any higher than third in their group with only one match remaining – against Chinese side Tianjin Teda in Gosford on May 19.

Pohang struck an early blow after Ryu Changhyun was brought down in the box by a clumsy challenge from Mariners defender Pedj Bojic in the seventh minute.

Denilson made no mistake with the penalty, blasting it into the top left side of Danny Vukovic’s net.

The Mariners struggled to get into the game in the first half with their only real chance coming in the 34th minute when Matt Simon’s shot shaved the left upright after a brilliant through ball from Andre Gumprecht.

They were lucky not to be heading into the break 2-0 down when South Korean international Choi Hyo Jin flashed a shot just wide on the stroke of halftime after a layoff from Denilson.

Vukovic made a good save early in the first half to deny Changhyun again before the Mariners hit back in the 52rd minute through Kwasnik.

The winger capitalised superbly on a bad defensive error from Kim Hyungil, taking a fine touch before firing in a neat finish from a tricky angle.

Kwasnik again proved the hero just five minutes later when he swung in a free kick that was amazingly missed by players from both sides before curling into the net past out-of-position goalkeeper Shin Hwa Yong.

The Mariners lifted noticeably and looked to be heading for an historic win before Denilson struck again in the 70th minute.

The Brazilian was left alarmingly unmarked in the penalty area and took full advantage when he collected a ball, steadied and drilled a low shot past Vukovic.

The Mariners lost Dylan Macallister minutes later with a suspected dislocated shoulder but they continued to press forward in search of a winner.

Dean Heffernan struck the post with a looped header before Simon missed a golden chance to put the Mariners back in front when he headed wide in the 76th.

But Denilson sealed the win and completed a stunning individual performance in the dying minutes by heading in a No Byungjun cross.

POHANG STEELERS 3 (Martins Nascimento Denilson 7m pen, 71m, 88m) bt CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2 (Adam Kwasnik 53m, 57m) at Pohang Steelyard. Referee: Masoud Moradi.

Written by
Real Football

Published on May 5, 2009




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