Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Seongnam Ilhwa

The Mariners must fancy themselves here after moderately successful results in their first two ACL games.

Date: Tuesday 3 April, 2012 Kick-off: 7pm AEST, 7.30pm local Venue: Gosford Stadium Head-to-headN/A Previous encounterN/A

History: This will be the first ever match between these two teams. Central Coast have played against a Korean side before, losing 3-2 and drawing 0-0 in their two fixtures against Pohang Steelers in the 2009 AFC Champions League.

This is Seongnam's fifth appearance in the top club competition in Asia, having won the 2010 edition and finishing runners-up in 2004. The Korean FA Cup champions are an experienced side and will be a good match for the new A-League premiers.

Form: Past five matches: Central Coast: LWDWL Seongnam: DLDWL

Summary of form: The Mariners are having a pretty tough time at the moment. They might have clinched the Premier's Plate with a win over Wellington a week ago, but they are nowhere near the kind of form they were in early in the season when they went well clear on top of the table halfway through the season.

A 2-0 loss to Brisbane Roar in the first leg of the A-League major semi-final has put them behind the eight ball - if the Grand Final is held in Queensland again, that just adds another day of travel for a Central Coast side who are already having difficulty dealing with the intersection of the finals and the ACL.

Meanwhile, it's been a poor start to the K-League season for Seongnam. With just one win in their last five matches in all competitions, former Queensland Roar assistant Shin Tae-Yong's men are in 14th place in their domestic league - two from the bottom.

In the ACL though, they're on top of Group G - tied on points with all three other clubs after each match so far in their pool finished in a draw. Goal difference has Seongnam in first position, but if they can grab a win here they can start to push themselves further away from the pack.

Match Committee: The Mariners have a clean bill of health, but Socceroos veteran Sasa Ognenovski is in doubt for the Korean side. The burly centre-half is struggling with a hamstring injury and missed Seongnam's last game. There's a good chance he'll be rested for this trip to his homeland.

Danger men: Daniel McBreen - Coach Graham Arnold played Mustafa Amini and Tom Rogic together in midfield against the Roar, in a Christmas tree formation with Bernie Ibini just ahead of them. It didn't work.

The Mariners could do with burly marksman McBreen back in the starting side - the twin No.10s ploy didn't work and the former Fury man would be a better foil for Amini and Ibini, adding strength and directness to the mix.

Everton Santos - The former PSG and Corinthians man joined Seongnam last season on loan but made his move official earlier this year.

A quick, crafty striker, the Brazilian is in red-hot form having scored four goals from five starts in the K-League and laid on a goal for countryman Heverton in their ACL match against Nagoya Grampus that ran hot on the highlight reels - what is believed to be the first double scissor kick goal in history. Look it up.

At the end of the day… The Mariners must fancy themselves here after moderately successful results in their first two ACL games. Although nobody has really stamped themselves as leaders of Group G yet, there were mixed expectations of Central Coast's second continental run and they must be delighted to still be on level pegging with everyone else at the moment.

They've got a good opportunity here against a Seongnam side who are out of sorts at the minute, but add in the fact that they'll be a little tired following the start of A-League finals action and it really could be anyone's game.

The Gosford side will need to be wary of the trickery of Brazilian strike pair Everton Santos and Heverton, but if they can keep them quiet and show a little more invention themselves in the final third then they can claim the win.