Guangzhou game an opportunity for all, says Sainsbury

Central Coast defender Trent Sainsbury says the Mariners are preparing for the upcoming clash with Guangzhou Evergrande as if they have everything to gain.

Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury says he and his teammates are preparing for the upcoming Champions League encounter with Guangzhou Evergrande as if they have everything to gain.

A clash with the Chinese giants, arguably the biggest side in Asia means a lot of eyes will be on the Mariners and given either of Guangzhou-s biggest stars Dario Conca or Lucas Barrios could buy the Central Coast franchise if they wanted to, it also means the match is the ultimate David and Goliath battle.

“I think the boys will relish the challenge,” Sainsbury said.

“They see it as a David v Goliath challenge, it doesn-t matter how much money you have the result is what counts and all the boys are going into this one buzzing, hopefully we can get a great result.

“We have one of the smallest budgets in the A-League and they have one of the biggest in Asia; a lot of people will be watching this game, and you never know who that may be, so there is more incentive than just winning this game.

“If they lose to us, hopefully people will think that can-t be right a team of that budget losing to a team that is on peanuts”.

Should the Mariners pull off the improbable against the back-to-back-to-back Chinese champions, they will reach the quarter-finals and Sainsbury is quick to credit Mariners coach Graham Arnold.

There-s plenty of talk about Arnold making a move to Asia at the moment anyway and orchestrating an ambush of Guangzhou would only hasten that discussion, Sainsbury though believes the coach hasn-t really got his due for the club-s success.

“I don-t think people understand the amount of work Arnie puts into this team, the structure and the belief. The boys will believe anything he says and we will jump off a bridge if he asks us to.”

Heading into the match against Guangzhou there is a question of just how well the mariners can go at this time of year. Last time out against Kashiwa Reysol they were hammered 3-0 at home and looked like a team that had hit the wall.

Despite the loss Sainsbury concedes it was a case of too much travel and possibly too much partying after winning the grand final, not that the team didn-t deserve to pop more than a few bottles of champagne.

“The travel caught up to us in around the 60 minute mark, but the effort was always there and I thought for the first 60 minutes we were right in that game, fatigue did set in though, but since then we have freshened up and I know the boys are up for this game.”

Central Coast Mariners (AUS) vs. Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) 2013 AFC Champions League Round of 16 First-Leg Wednesday 15 May, 2013 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:30pm Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter. The official hash tag for the game is #CCMvGE