Arnold proud of performance

Mariners coach Graham Arnold said he could not be more proud of his players after Central Coast came from a goal down to score a 1-1 draw with Nagoya Grampus in their AFC Champions League match at Gosford on Wednesday night.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold said he could not be more proud of his players after Central Coast came from a goal down to score a 1-1 draw with Nagoya Grampus in their AFC Champions League match at Gosford on Wednesday night.


Arnold took a huge risk by naming several young players in his starting side, including attacking midfielders Tomas Rogic and Mustafa Amini who started together for the first time and both were prominent.

Although they did not score their first ever win in the ACL, the Mariners dominated for long periods and were unlucky not to score a winner.

Markus Tulio Tanaka opened the scoring for Grampus after the visitors received a controversial freekick in the 21st minute.

Seven minutes later the Mariners equalised when defender Patrick Zwaanswijk headed home.

"I cannot be more proud of my players," Arnold said.

"We had four or five kids out there and they were all superb. I thought we played fantastic football.

"The first half was good, the second half was real good. I felt in the end we had the best chance to win it, I think we shaded it."

While the Mariners are coming toward the end of their season, Nagoya Grampus have only played two games in the J-League and looked rusty at times.

They were also without three key players.

"We got them at a good time," said Arnold, who now has to focus on Sunday's Hyundai A-League clash against Wellington with a Mariners win securing the club the Premiers' Plate.

Nagoya coach Dragan Stojkovic felt a draw was a good result for his team on Wednesday night.

"From a technical point of view I thought we played better football," he said.

"But the Mariners didn't give up. Generally speaking, I think a draw was a good result. We came without three regular players.

"We really tried to do our best to win but a draw away, that's not bad."