Moss hails Golden Mile and co

Central Coast Mariners boss Phil Moss hailed his golden Mile Sterjovski whose brace sealed a 2-1 victory over J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the AFC Champions League at Central Coast Stadium.

Two clinical finishes were the highlights of an all-round man of the match performance for the retiring veteran, and thrilled fans saw the former Socceroo shine on the Asian stage.
 
“I am so happy for Mile,” said Moss after the match. “He’s such a great guy, he’s such a fantastic professional, he’s been so important for us on and off the field and he really wound the clock back tonight.
 
“I could sense yesterday when I told him that he was going to start that his chest went out and his shoulders went back and you could just see that he was primed for a big game.
 
“I think everyone in Australian football would be pleased for him because he is one of those real genuine guys who never has a bad word to say about anyone and he gets in every day and does his job, and that’s the result."
 
Moss was equally delighted with the rest of his squad and their achievement in defeating the current Japanese title holders.
 
“Obviously it’s a very proud moment for the club and a very famous victory for the Central Coast Mariners and for the A-League, so I am very, very proud of my players tonight,” he said.
 
“I hope that tonight gives the squad the belief to go on with things in the A-League now. I have just said to them that they didn’t just get the result tonight, they deserved the result. I think that’s an important thing to come out of the game – we didn’t just hold our own we played some quality football, and we threatened on a number of occasions.
 
“Liam Reddy had probably two or three saves to make – one from halfway – throughout the game. That’s testament to our defensive structure and our attitude to defend. I thought the desperation inside our box to defend was excellent tonight.”
 
The win over Sanfrecce lifts the Mariners to second place in 2014 AFC Champions League Group F after two matchdays, with FC Seoul leading the way on four points, the Mariners three, Beijing Guoan two, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima one.
 
The Mariners will be in China for 2014 AFC Champions League matchday 3 next week, with the yellow and navy taking on Gregorio Manzano’s men on Wednesday 19 March at the Beijing Workers Stadium.
 
Before that fixture, the Mariners host the F3 derby on Saturday against bitter rivals Newcastle Jets at Central Coast Stadium.
 
“It’s a big game on Saturday, there’s no hiding from that,” Moss said. “And being a derby against Newcastle makes it all the sweeter. These boys are used to the rigours of A-League and ACL being mixed together, so we’ll refocus tomorrow morning.
 
“I hope the main thing to come out of this is belief. If the boys can go into Saturday’s derby with the belief that they went into tonight’s game with, then anything is possible in the back end of the season."