The Central Coast Mariners managed an impressive result for the Asian Champions League hopes as they managed a 2-1 win over defending J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday night.
Hiroshima were impressive in the opening stages, forcing Liam Reddy to make a save in the first minute after a sharp volley.
Just after the 20th minute Hiroshima had an audacious effort as Yojiro Takahagi tried to spot Reddy off his line and shot from just past half-way but was denied by Reddy who tipped the ball over the bar.
The Mariners defended the corner poorly which let Tsukasa Shiotani to get to the cross and head home the opening goal.
Just two minutes later the Mariners were back on level terms as Kim Seung-yong made a great run and sent a ball forward for Mile Sterjovski who surged forward and sent the ball past Takuto Hayashi to level proceedings.
That spurred on the Mariners and in the 32nd minute Sterjovski found his second goal as he stole a poor defensive pass and then cut inside before hitting a powerful strike that took a deflection on its way in to the back of the net.
That was all the action in the first half as the Mariners left the field jubilant with a 2-1 lead putting them in a solid position.
Facing a 2-1 deficit Hiroshima came out from half-time determined to get back on level terms and completely dominated possession.
The Mariners defense was dominant, with Hiroshima throwing everything at the Mariners but despite all that effort the Mariners held on for a famous victory, with Liam Reddy putting in a phenomenal performance.
With that win the Mariners jump over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in to second place, one point clear of next week’s opponent Beijing Guoan in a position to advance.