Kuala Lumpur Post


Australia’s Central Coast win AFC Cup

MUSCAT — Central Coast Mariners became the first Australian club to win the AFC Cup on Sunday as Mark Jackson’s side triumphed 1-0 over Lebanon’s Al-Ahed to claim the trophy in Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Stadium.

Substitute Alou Kuol scored six minutes from time to seal the win in the Asian Football Confederation’s second-tier event in the last final before the region’s club tournaments undergo a significant revamp later in the year.

“I’m very happy for the win and to secure the trophy for Australia and for my club,” said Kuol, who was introduced off the bench in the 64th minute.

“(Jackson) said to give the boys energy and to work hard, work for the team and we got the reward for it.”

A tense and tepid game looked to be heading for extra time when Kuol latched onto Ronald Barcellos’ through pass to slip the ball between the legs of Al-Ahed goalkeeper Mostafa Matar to score.

Victory comes at the end of a week in which Central Coast clinched the A-League Premiership and Jackson’s side next face Sydney FC in the semifinals of the domestic playoffs as they look to defend the A-League Championship title won last year.

The AFC Cup will be scrapped as the confederation reconfigures club competitions across the continent, with the Asian Champions League Elite, Asian Champions League 2 and Asian Challenge League starting later in the year. — Reuters