Mariners edge Beijing Guoan in ACL
Two crucial saves from goalkeeper Liam Reddy, including a 69th minute penalty attempt, coupled with Marcel Seip's first goal for the club gave the home side their second win of this ACL campaign.
It could also leave Phil Moss' side top of Group F - depending on the result of the FC Seoul v Sanfrecce Hiroshima game – and also give the locals their third win in three seasons over Chinese Superleague clubs.
In defence Marcel Seip and Brent Griffiths came into the Mariners side along-with Isaka Cernak whilst substitutes from the weekend's A-League win over Western Sydney Nick Montgomery, Mitchell Duke, and Bernie Ibini all returned to the starting XI.
Beijing's big guns Croatian Darko Matic, Nigerian front man Peter Utaka,and Ecuadorian Joffre Guerron all featured whilst Korean international Ha Dae Sung started on the bench.
Coming off a first league loss for the season on the weekend, Beijing Guoan could have conceded early after defender Yu Yang fouled Central Coast midfielder Kim Seung-Yong and was lucky not to concede penalty.
Sri Lankan official Hettikamkanamge Perera ruled the foul was just outside of the area and Kim couldn't beat the wall with the resultant free kick.
With five minutes remaining to the break the match sprung into life.
First a delightful back heel from Duke put Ibini clear down the left channel, but as he charged in towards goal shot-stopper Yang Zhi managed to close down the space and save Ibini's strike just on the edge of the area.
Beijing returned serve as Geurron was released in the midfield but shot over the goal before Duke at the other end raced into the area to no avail.
he best chance of the half came near the end of a frenetic period when Reddy produced a stunning save to his right deny Shao Jiayi, whose point-blank strike looked destined for the corner.
Kim was cynically fouled by Matic 10 minutes into the second half with the Bosnian-born player lucky not to be booked as the game became more direct and threatened to boil over at times.
In the 68th minute, Guerron raced passed Griffiths in the penalty area and was clipped from behind with the referee having no choice but to award a spot kick.
But the heroic Reddy was able to keep his clean sheet as he guessed the right way and brilliantly denied Xizhe.
The goalkeeper's form between the sticks inspired his teammates as Seip rocketed home a cracking volley four minutes later to give the Mariners the lead.
Montgomery slipped the ball to Kim on the right side of the area before the South Korean chipped it towards the centre of the penalty area for Seip to volley first time and send the small, but vocal, crowd into raptures.
Both sides continued to press for a goal with Rose remaining positive late in attack for the Mariners and the visiting keeper causing coach Manzano some headaches when he raced out of goal on more than one occasion.
Ultimately the visitors' lacked any penetration as the Mariners' recorded a critical result which will enhance their chances of progressing to the knockout stage as they did last season.