AFC Champions League remain the target for the Mariners

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Central Coast Mariners coach Alen Stajcic wants qualifying for AFC Champions League to continue being the main goal for his side after a 2-1 victory over Macarthur FC on Thursday night at Campbelltown Stadium.

It was a tight affair between the two and it was the Bulls’ forward, Markel Susaeta, who broke the deadlock by chipping the ball over Mark Birighitti in a one-on-one position in the 17th minute.

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However, the Mariners looked the better side for the majority of the game with threatening counter attacks and blistering speed which allowed the Mariners to find the equaliser through Jack Clisby, with a powerful strike to beat Adam Federici in the 31st minute.

Daniel De Silva scored a wonderful long-range effort to put the Mariners in front in the 55th minute which became the winning goal, giving the Mariners a crucial three points.

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The Mariners still have hope to qualify for the ACL and Stajcic has confirmed that is still the goal.

“I think I sat here about four months ago and that was the first time I said publicly that we’re aiming for Asian Champions League,” he said.

“Probably the majority of people thought we were crazy or laughed at us and thought that was mission impossible, but it’s still our goal.”

The Mariners have not qualified for the ACL since 2014, where they finished bottom of their group, but to help them get there, they will look to Sydney FC’s results.

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“It’s out of control a little bit to the extent that we can’t control Sydney’s results,” Stajcic said.

However, the Mariners for the past three seasons finished in last place on the A-League table and Stajcic wants to finish this season on a high which includes qualifying for the ACL.

“We’re aiming to finish the season off in a positive way and finish with a couple of wins at home now,” he said.

“Two home matches which is good for us to go back home and play in front of our home crowd and do the best we can to put as much pressure on Sydney as we can and finish off with that goal [ACL] that we set ourselves six or seven months ago.”

Featured image credit: Glenn Pokorny

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Daniel Gualterio
Bachelor of Sports Media student from Charles Sturt University covering Macarthur FC. Passionate for the world game.
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