Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur FC returned to AFC Cup action on Thursday night. Here’s how they fared.
Central Coast Mariners moved top of Group G following a commanding 6-3 victory over Bali United, while Macarthur FC dropped points for the first time in their maiden AFC Cup campaign, falling to a 3-0 defeat away to Phnom Penh Crown.
Reigning Isuzu UTE A-League champions Central Coast fought from a goal down, to come away with the win, led by braces from Jacob Farrell and Marco Tulio – with the latter firing home his two goals from the spot.
The win, along with Stallion Laguna’s 2-2 draw with Terengganu, sent the Mariners top of the group heading into the reverse fixtures, kicking off with a clash away to Bali on November 8.
Meanwhile, Macarthur fell to a three-goal defeat in the Cambodian capital after Shintaro Shimizu scored a brace and substitute Socheavila Phach fired home late in the contest to give Phnom Penh an impressive victory.
Mile Sterjovski’s side now sit in second place in Group F behind the Cambodian champions, who occupy top spot.
Featured image: AFC
THURSDAY NIGHT RESULTS
Central Coast Mariners 6-3 Bali United
Industree Group Stadium
Phnom Penh Crown 3-0 Macarthur FC
Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium
Central Coast 6-3 Bali United: Champions go top of Group G after huge victory at home
Top of Group G heading into the reverse fixtures? Not a bad place to be in if you’re Central Coast Mariners!
Mark Jackson’s side rallied from a goal down to convincingly beat Bali United 6-3 on their home deck, snatching top spot in the group in the process.
A horror own-goal from Mariners keeper Jack Warshawsky saw Central Coast go behind inside the opening twenty minutes, but the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League champions stormed back to come away with a convincing victory against their Indonesian opponents.
Jacob Farrell responded from getting sent off in their 3-0 loss to Adelaide United last Friday with two sensational goals, Marco Tulio chipped in with two of his own from the spot, while Christian Theoharous scored his first in Mariners colours and Kadek Arel Priyatna also added an own-goal.
Cameroonian winger Privat Mbarga added one of his own shortly after half-time for the visitors, while speedster Jefferson Assis fired home a consolation.
Mbarga, however, was busy all night and it was his cross which was mishandled by Warshawsky – who deputised in place of Danny Vukovic – en route to Bali taking an unlikely lead.
The Mariners responded shortly after through Farrell, who fired home an unstoppable long range bomb to bring the scores level, before two penalties in three minutes saw the Mariners take the lead through a Tulio brace.
Tulio now has five goals in the AFC Cup this season, taking himself even with Trent Buhagiar as the highest scoring A-Leagues player in a single AFC competition season, since the 2012-13 season.
Bali hit back after the break through Mbarga, who brought the Indonesian outfit back into the contest with a pinpoint finish into the top corner. However, their resistance was short lived, as the fleet-footed Mariners attack carved through Bali’s defence for two more.
After coming close time and time again, Theoharous finally had his first goal in blue and gold, tapping home from close range, before Angel Torres’ shot was turned in by Bali defender Priyatna.
Farrell added another to make it six goals for the Mariners with a well-hit effort back across the goalmouth following a Torres corner.
The visitors pulled another back through Assis, but it was too little, too late for Bali, who fell to defeat.
Central Coast will turn their attention to Macarthur on Sunday, in their first home game of the A-League Men’s season, before facing Bali in the reverse fixture next month.
Phnom Penh Crown 3-0 Macarthur FC: Late flurry sinks the Bulls
Macarthur’s perfect to start to their maiden AFC Cup campaign came to an end on Thursday night, suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of eight-time Cambodian champions Phnom Penh Crown.
Shintaro Shimizu continued his impressive campaign, firing home a brace late in the contest, before Socheavila Phach added another in second-half stoppage time to round out the impressive win at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium.
In hot, humid conditions, the Bulls struggled to create many clear cut opportunities against the reigning Cambodian champions, but did have the ball in the net just prior to Shimizu’s opener through Lachie Rose, but the flag went up for offside.
Mile Sterjovski’s side now drop to second in Group F behind Phnom Penh, who leapfrog the Bulls into top spot heading into the reverse fixture at Campbelltown Stadium on November 9.
Macarthur were without a host of first team regulars including Valere Germain, Filip Kurto, Ivan Vujica and Jonathan Aspropotamitis, as they played their second of three games in eight days.
The Bulls were on the ropes early and could have easily fallen behind earlier in the contest had it not been for some smart stops from Danijel Nizic.
A draw looked to be on the cards heading into the final 15 minutes until Nizic failed to clear a cross, which landed at the feet of Shimizu to break the deadlock.
The game became stretched as the Bulls chased a result and once again Shimizu made them pay, getting on the end of another cross to double their lead.
With time expiring, Macarthur failed to clear their lines from a late corner, which fell to Phach who fired home a stunning long-range effort past Nizic to wrap up the victory.
Sterjovski’s charges will now need to gear up for a clash with the Mariners on Sunday, as they chase their first win of the A-Leagues season.