Mariners look to ACL to make amends

April 16, 2012
By Liam FitzGibbon

Still hurting from missing a spot in the A-League grand final, Central Coast are out to ease the pain with a strong Asian Champions League showing in South Korea on Wednesday.

The Mariners had little time to dwell on Saturday's preliminary-final loss to Perth in Gosford, flying to Korea on Sunday ahead of the Group G showdown with Seongnam Ilhwa.

Central Coast veteran John Hutchinson admitted the pain from missing a spot in a second consecutive A-League grand final was still raw but said the players saw the Korean trip as the perfect chance to get over it.

"The boys were very disappointed at the end of the game but, to get out of Australia and come to Korea, I think has helped the team move on," Hutchinson told AAP from Korea.

"We could sort of just lay there and accept defeat but that's not the team we are.

"The boys are actually looking forward to playing again and putting in a good performance and we know we have to play well."

With the ACL the Mariners' only focus after a hectic schedule, juggling the competition with domestic duties, the club are determined to reach the last 16 for the first time.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold made an impassioned speech to the playing group in Korea about the importance of the competition and Hutchinson said morale was still high.

Central Coast sit equal second with Seongnam, with draws in all three of their matches, and another point would put them in a handy position to progress heading into their second-last group game at home to China's Tianjin Teda in a fortnight.

"I think, if you look at the table, another point here for us would be good but it's not in our team make-up to come out and play for a draw," Hutchinson said.

"We'll definitely try and get the three points."

Seongnam, who sit 11th in the K-League, are unbeaten playing at home in the ACL since 2005.

The Mariners are expected to field close to a full strength line-up but will be without left-back Josh Rose due to suspension.