The Mariners were more than competitive against Asia's richest club, but luck, as well as a cashed up set of owners eluded them according to Graham Arnold.
Luck-s a fortune or in the case of Guangzhou Evergrande it-s worth a fortune, with Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold adamant luck played a huge part in his side falling 2-1 to the Chinese giants in the first leg of their round of 16 tie in Gosford.
Arnold happy with the performance of his team, but lamenting the amount of luck Paraguayan star Lucas Barrios and Chinese national keeper Zeng Cheng fell into on the night.
“The performance was very good. I thought we had our chances, but we didn-t score our chances,” Arnold said.
“Their quality in the front line was something we highlighted before the game, their transition to attack - their first goal was lucky, a mis-kick went up and over our defence before Barrios scored, and then a quality finish for the second one but they both came from our mistakes and that-s what they are good at doing.
“Over the 90 minutes we played a lot of good football and in the second half we had two great chances that the keeper saved with his backside, if we could have put them away it would have been a totally different game. It-s a difference in quality and the quality of their frontline is probably worth $30 million.”
Despite the loss Arnold remained upbeat, happy with what his side dished up on the park and confident they can still serve it up to a Marcelo Lippi managed side that allowed the Mariners a lot of space. Something he doesn-t think will change next time.
“It was a great game of football and I-m happy, but also disappointed we didn-t take our chances.
“The loss makes it a little more difficult (to advance) but football is a funny game and I have been around long enough to know that you can never be comfortable.
"We didn-t get the 2-2 but at the end of the day there is a huge difference in the budgets. I was very proud of the football we played and we will give it our best shot in China.
“We analysed during the week where the spaces are, the front three give a false press, they don-t put too much pressure on the ball it was a matter of finding McBreen, Bernie and McGlinchey as well. The end product was what hurt us, we were let down by a poor cross or bad decision.
“We know they rely heavily on the front three to score the goals and the back six to stop them so I think the space will still be there.”