Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss has hailed a 'famous victory' for the club after a 2-1 AFC Champions League triumph over the J-League title-holders Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday, courtesy of two goals from former the soon-to-be retired Mile Sterjovski.
The historic victory sets the Mariners on the path to potentially progressing to the knock-out stages, as they did last season, given they now sit second in the group.
However, Moss isn't going to try to convince the evening's two-goal hero Sterjovski to delay his retirement plans after he secured the Mariners a first win against Japanese opponents in the ACL.
"I'm so happy for Mile, he is such a great guy," Moss said.
"Such a fantastic professional. He has been so important to us, on and off the field.
"He really wound the clock back tonight."
"I just sensed 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.
Moss lauded the 34-year-old's work ethic, even in the final months of his career.
"He gets in every day and does his job. And that's the result," he said.
"Hopefully the young boys will take a leaf out of his book going forward and realise that is what helps you get to the top level."
Despite his goal-scoring form and effort on the region's biggest club stage, Moss won't be attempting to convince the former English Premier League and Ligue 1 player to extend his career.
"I think it would hurt me more to talk him out of retirement and see his last year be one too many.
"I think the way he is going about it now is just perfect
"He is in great shape physically and mentally. He is scoring goals like that and he is still mixing it with top Asian teams.
"It's a perfect time for him to go out. He is settled in his mind and it is just exactly the way a true champion like him deserves to go out."
Moss said he hopes the result can give the Mariners the confidence to turn around their stuttering A-League season.
"I've just said to them they didn't just get the result tonight, they earned the result and I think that's an important thing to come out of the game - that we didn't just hold our own, we played some quality football.
"We threatened on a number of occasions and Liam Reddy probably had two or three saves to make, one from halfway during the game and that's a testament to our defensive structure and out attitude in defence and I thought the desperation inside our box to defend or last-ditch defending was excellent tonight."
The Mariners now face Newcastle Jets in the F3 derby on Saturday before heading to China for their match against Beijing Guoan, who drew 1-1 at home to FC Seoul in the other Group F fixture on Tuesday night.comments