Australia's lone representative in the Asian Champions League, the Central Coast Mariners, got underway with a solid start after a scoreless draw against Suwon Bluewings at Bluetongue Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Central Coast were the dominant side and they likely should have won the match as they controlled the match and had the better opportunities.
Both sides clearly were more interested in not conceding than in scoring, with Suwon looking to avoid losses on the road while the Mariners always had one eye on their title decider on the weekend.
Michael McGlinchey nearly had the first goal of the match as Nick Fitgerald made a superb run down the left and crossed for McGlinchey who couldn't find the target with his volley.
Suwon's best chance came in the 43rd minute as Chong Tse ran on to a cross but sent his effort wide of goal.
The second half started tentatively with both sides again looking to feel each other out before the Mariners took control.
With Suwon yet to play a competitive game until this match the more the clock wore on the more the Mariners' superior fitness told.
Josh Rose and Pedj Bojic were a regular danger to the Suwon defense as they made runs up the wings to feed McGlinchey and Daniel McBreen but neither could take the chances that presented themselves.
In the 63rd minute Graham Arnold turned to Mitchell Duke and it was his addition of pace that firmly turned the game in the Mariners favour.
Within one minute of coming on Duke had a chance to open the scoring as he received the ball on the edge of the area and ran at the keeper only for his shot to deflect off the keeper. The deflection came back to Duke but he had little time and sent it over the bar.
Late on saw a flurry of chances for the Mariners as they looked to get an early jump on their group rivals.
In the 88th minute the Mariners were handed, quite literally, a golden opportunity as a handball from Kwak Kwangsun allowed Nick Montgomery a chance to win the match but his effort was saved by Jung Sungryong.
There was one more chance for the Mariners as Pedj Bojic was through on goal but his shot was poor and couldn't find the net which forced the Mariners to share the points.