New First for Australia: AFC Cup Won by Aussie Side Central Coast

Julian Miller
By: Julian Miller
08/05/2024
News
BettingTop10 News
Central Coast Wins AFC Cup

The Central Coast Mariners battle through tough travel regiment to become the first Australian club to win the AFC Cup. 

News Insights

  • Central Coast first Aussie side to win AFC Cup.
  • A-League Premiership clinched by the Mariners.
  • Super-Sub Alou Kuol scores the winner.
  • Tough travel schedule can’t break the Mariners

The Central Coast Mariners are in the midst of a historic run in Australian Football. The defending A-League champions have just become the first Aussie club to win the AFC Cup with a nailbiting 1-0 victory over Al-Ahed and now turn their attention back to A-League, looking to go back-to-back.  

AFC Cup Goes to Australian Side Central Coast 

The AFC Cup had never been won by an Australian side in the history of the event. Countless squads have tried. Some of the best our country has to offer have fought in the tournament but never have they been victorious. That is until now, as the Central Coast Mariners are AFC Cup Champions.  
 
Fresh off an A-League Championship last year and having just clinched the A-League Premiership for this season, the Mariners had been on a roll as of late, heading into the AFC Cup final against Al-Ahed. Looking to keep their treble dreams alive in Oman, the Mariners showed out.  
 
The game began as many finals do, with each side appearing a bit weary of stepping too far out of their comfort zones in fear of making a costly mistake. Each side stayed in their formations and didn’t do much in terms of committing men forward.  
 
As such, the play was heavily kept to the middle third of the field with each team seemingly content to pass the ball around without massive intent to breakdown the opposing line.  
 
Central Coast had more of the ball in this opening sequence but as mentioned, never really threatened the opposing goal.  
 
The game’s first real chance came from al-Ahed midway through the opening half. The Lebanese side sent a through ball down the wing which when received by Diaa Al Hak Al Mohammad, found room to swing in a gorgeous cross.  
 
Al-Ahed managed to get a head to the ball and it looked as though the score was set to be 1-0 until Danny Vukovic dove for a phenomenal save.  
 
That was the best chance of the half for either side. Although the game began to open up after this with each team getting shots on goal and a more flowy feel to the match.  
 
The second half was more one-sided, belonging largely to Central Coast. They were menacing down the wings and controlled the match but struggled to find the final pass and finish needed to bust the game open.  
 
They nearly took the lead off the boot of Joshua Nisbet from inside the 18-yard-box, but his shot was blocked as was the rebound attempt from Ronald Barcellos.  
 
That is until the 84th minute when substitute Alou Kuol found the back of the net. Fellow substitute Barcellos drove the play, beating a pair of defenders before laying the ball on a platter for Kuol in on goal. He calmly tapped the ball through the legs of Al-Ahed’s keeper to put the Mariners up 1-0 with six minutes remaining.

Al-Ahed threw everything they had a Central Coast in the dying minutes, but their defensive structure held strong as the full-time whistle blew with the Australian club AFC Cup champions.  
 
With the win, the Mariners collect the massive $2.3 million tournament prize. 

A-League Premiership Clinched Just Days Before 

It has been an eventful week for Central Coast as just days before their AFC Cup final, they clinched the A-League Premiership.  
 
As such, they don’t have all that much time to celebrate their AFC Cup win for now as they have a quick turnaround back home in the A-League.  
 
They will play the first leg of their semi-final clash with Sydney FC on May 10th, as the Mariners look to take one step further towards back-to-back championships, and a treble. 

The AFC Cup has been won by an Australian team for the first time ever. The Central Coast Mariners ousted Lebanese club Al-Ahed 1-0 in the final. They begin their quest for their second straight A-League Championship on Friday, as it is all that stands between them and a treble.  

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