Manzano denies Beijing Guoan team issues

The former Mallorca and Atletico Madrid mentor said he was content with his decision to omit South Korean international Ha Dae Sung in favour of Piao Cheng and continue operating with Joffree Guerron and Peter Utaka as a front two.

This came after the 58-year-old was queried about his tactics by Chinese journalists following the Group F loss.

Speaking via an interpreter Manzano stated: "We wanted to press more to start with, we used two strikers to enhance our attack, we use Cheng on an alternate basis with Ha as they play the same position on the pitch."

Not only was there a query about the reluctance to use the South Korean international but an apparent argument during the match which resulted in Ecuadorian forward Guerron coming to the sidelines to speak to Manzano was also explained.

"I wanted to get Guerron to play on the right side and be more aggressive and create more opportunities for the whole team," said Manzano.

"It was a very intensive game tonight and we had got the opportunity of the penalty and we missed it but the Mariners have taken their opportunity (to score).

"Today the best player in the game was the goalkeeper (Liam Reddy) of the Central Coast because he has saved the penalty and attempt of Shao Jiayi.

However, despite earning a penalty, Manzano was aggrieved at some of the refereeing from Hettikamkanamge Perera of Sri Lankan.

"The other actions that helped decide the result of the game was a handball," he declared.

"Our player (Joffre Guerron) said there was a handball in the box," Manzano said,  referring to the first-half injury-time incident when Mariners defender Josh Rose accidentially palmed the ball after it was dropping behind his body as he attempted to contest possession with Guerron.

In other Group F matches FC Seoul and Sanfrecce Hiroshima drew 2-2 to send the Mariners top of the group with six points.

All other sides in the group are on five points, however, in what looms as a tight tussle to qualify over the last two group matches of the campaign.

"In the next two matches we need to get full points to make sure we can progress," Manzano said.

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