New signings Wout Brama and Asdrubal found the net as Central Coast Mariners downed the Chinese U-22 national team 3-0 in a pre-season clash on Thursday.
STORY OF THE GAME
The first chance of the match fell to the Mariners via Josh Bingham up front who tried his luck from distance but his shot was just wide of the upright.
Brama drew first blood in the 26th minute with a solo effort from 20 yards out to give the Mariners a first half lead in striking fashion.
Frustration was evident in the Chinese side and Wei Jingzong was sent off just three minutes later for a late challenge on Tom Hiariej in the midfield. Although in the second half, Paul Okon agreed to let the opposition play with 11 players on the pitch to ensure his side would get the best possible pre-season hit out.
The Chinese under 22’s shifted into a defensive mindset and were tough to break down with the Mariners launching wave after wave of attacks.
The Yellow & Navy found their goal with five minutes remaining in the first half thanks to a volley from Jake McGing. The goal sent the Mariners into the sheds with a 2-0 lead at half time.
The second half was off to a flying start and it was Tom Glover in between the sticks to replace Ben Kennedy. The Chinese side went straight onto the attack and Glover was called into immediate action.
Glover was again in the thick of the action on the hour mark after a challenge from Antony Golec awarded a spot-kick to the Chinese U-22's. Fortunately for the Mariners, the penalty attempt flew off Glover’s post and the Mariners 2-0 lead was maintained.
Okon took to his bench not long after the penalty to make a triple substitution which saw Liam Rose, Kye Rowles and Asdrubal injected for the final 30 minutes.
Asdrubal took no time to impose himself on the game and scored a classy goal, tucking home his shot to ensure a 3-0 win on the Gold Coast after a pinpoint through ball from substitute, Adam Berry.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Brama 26’, McGing 40’ & Asdrubal 90’) China U-22 0
26’ BRAMA GOAL (1-0): The Dutchman’s solo effort gave the Mariners a first half lead with a strike from outside the area. With possession on the edge of the box, Brama pulled the trigger on a strike that flew into the bottom corner.
40’ McGING GOAL (2-0): After a set piece, the ball ended up in the 18-yard-box. The ball bounced favourably for McGing who threw himself to athletically volley home from close range.
90’ ASDRUBAL GOAL (3-0): The Mariners lodged an attack from a throw in on the left wing. Connor Pain found the feet of Adam Berry in the midfield who played an impressive ball though to Asdrubal. The Spanish striker was all class, taking a touch and slotting his shot under the keeper to seal a 3-0 win.
OKON PLEASED WITH MARINERS' PERFORMANCE
“China were a good opponent,” Mariners coach Paul Okon said. “The standard was similar to what we will face in the A-League. The intensity was good and we were able to maintain it, play some good football, score some goals and defensively we didn’t allow the opposition too many chances.
“At this stage of the pre-season it’s about improving the players understanding of the way we want to play – especially with so many new players. To see the things we’ve been working on at training come to life was positive.
“We dominated and we were dangerous once we got into the final third which is a big area we know we need to improve and to have some of the new boys scoring is obviously great for the confidence.
“Asdrubal worked incredibly hard for the 30 minutes he was on the field and he looks a real threat whenever he is in and around the box. The goal he scored came from a great run and a great pass from young Adam Berry so it’s a goal that we work on in training so we’re happy to see both those boys involved.
“In the first half the VAR ruled that there was a red card. It was a real nasty challenge. We didn’t want to play against 10-men but at that moment the ref’ wouldn’t allow another player to come on for China. At half time we had a discussion and both teams wanted equal numbers on the field so in the second half they were able to replace the player who was sent off,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (30.Tom Glover (GK) 45’), 15. Alan BARO (c), 5.Antony GOLEC (21.Kye ROWLES 65’), 4.Jake McGING, 3.Josh ROSE, 6.Tom HIARIEJ (14.Adam BERRY 76’), 23.Wout BRAMA (16.Liam ROSE 65’), 10.Daniel De SILVA (13.Kwabena APPIAH 45’), 7.Andrew HOOLE (27.Lachlan WALES 76’), 11.Connor PAIN, 17.Josh BINGHAM (9.Asdrubal 63’)
Yellow Cards: Hiariej 66’
China U-22 National Team: 23.Zhou YUCHEN (gk), 3.Liu JUN SHUAI, 4.Li HAI LONG, 8.Liu YI MING (c), 10.Tang SHI, 13.Chen ZEPENG, 15. Wei JINGZONG, 17.Ju FENG, 20.Huang ZHENG YU, 22.Zhou DADI, 25.Ba DUN
Red Cards: 15. Wei JINGZONG 20’
Substitute: 1.Li HAI TAO, 6.Su YUANJIE, 9.Gui HONG, 11.Nan SONG, 14.Wen HANJUN, 16. Liang AILONG, 19.Liu YANG, 21. Li ZHONG YI, 24. Che SHI WEI, 29. Liu HAO