McKinna relieved it's over

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna admitted to feeling relief after his team's frustrating and fruitless Asian Champions League campaign ended with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Tianjin Teda on Tuesday night.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna admitted to feeling relief after his team's frustrating and fruitless Asian Champions League campaign ended with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Tianjin Teda on Tuesday night.

The Mariners finished with just two draws from six matches, leaving them anchored to the bottom of Group H and with sour memories of their first visit to the ACL.

The final-round loss to a young and enthusiastic Tianjin at a rainswept Bluetongue Stadium - the winner provided by Mao Biao after 65 minutes - epitomised the club's Asian adventure.

Wasteful in front of goal and naive at the back, Central Coast was again punished for its mistakes.

"Tonight probably summed up four (of our other) games … possession, creating chances, and then copping one," a rueful McKinna said.

"Probably now it's relief that it's over. We can have a break and come back."

"We knew it (the ACL) was going to be tough. It shows that if you make one mistake you get punished and that's what happened."

"That's what we've found - all the teams we've played have punished us for our mistakes."

The Mariners also confirmed that Andre Gumprecht, Paul O'Grady, Greg Owens and Nick Rizzo will be released from the club ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

Tianjin Teda coach Zuo Shusheng sent a fresh-faced team into the dead rubber match, opting to field several youngsters ahead of more senior players.

The ploy worked a treat, the visitors grabbing a goal against the run of play then repelling a fierce Mariners onslaught in the final 15 minutes.

"It was a very hard game. There were some bad situations for us during the game but we held on and won," a proud Shusheng said.

"I am satisfied and I admire the performance of our young players in such a difficult game."

"Their spirit and their good mentality is commendable."

"We didn't create many chances to score but fortunately we had one chance and scored."

"The Central Coast Mariners had a lot of chances and created pressure on our defensive line and fortunately they didn't take their chances. We were lucky."

Asked to sum up his team's first ACL foray - a campaign which saw the Chinese team finish third in its group - Shusheng said: "It is the first time we have participated and it-s been like a test for us."

"The group stage is different from the Chinese Super League. The tempo is very high and the transition from offence to defence is much faster."

"Each team has different styles. It's a very good experience for us."

"If we get another chance to play in the Champions League, we can do better."

Shusheng rejected claims his players had feigned injury in a bid to stall the Mariners' momentum late in the game and waste time, declaring: "We never plan these kinds of things. We were all the time promoting fair play and the positive way of playing football."