Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Frontale's ACL fate decided

The draw for the group stage of the 2009 AFC Champions League took place in Dubai today.

Frontale have been drawn in Group H along with:

Central Coast Mariners (AUS) - A-League premiers* 2007-8
Tianjin Teda (CHN) - Chinese Super League 4th place 2008
Pohang Steelers (KOR) - Korean FA Cup winners 2008

Can't pretend to know much about any of these teams, but first impressions suggest it could have been worse. None of Frontale's opponents are overall champions of their respective leagues. And, although the trip to New South Wales will be a drain, Tianjin and Pohang are practically neighbours (relatively speaking).

Group H match schedule:

Game Date Opponent Venue
1 11/03/2009
Tianjin Teda Todoroki Stadium
2 18/03/2009
Pohang Steelers Steelyard
3 8/04/2009
Central Coast Mariners Blue Tongue Stadium
4 21/04/2009
Central Coast Mariners Todoroki Stadium
5 5/05/2009
Tianjin Teda Tianjin Teda Stadium
6 19/05/2009
Pohang Steelers Todoroki Stadium

* In the A-League, whichever team tops the table at the end of the regular season wins the title of A-League Premiers. The top four teams then compete in a play-off series to decide the overall champion. Central Coast Mariners topped the table at the end of the regular season, but were runners-up in the play-off series to Newcastle Jets, who thereby became A-League Champions.


CCM fan said...

Don't underestimate Central Coast. We've been one of the most consistent teams in the A-League's short history. We've been to two 'Grand Finals' in three years. We're a physical team who plays direct football.

Do you know how many fans Frontale might send to Australia?

manyar said...

I don't think anyone will be underestimating the A-League teams after what Adelaide did to Kashima last year. Although your boys are going to be racking up an awful lot of airmiles in this group.

I have no idea how many will make the trip to Australia. It's certainly a more appealing destination than the long-haul trips (to Indonesia and Iran) in our 2007 ACL campaign.

northernspirit said...

im a central coast fan and its exciting to be taking part in this tournament for the first time, good luck to your team and i hope you do well (just not as well as us!)

manyar said...

Well, with 2 teams now qualifying from each group, there's hope for us both!

Ben said...

As an Australian Frontale fan, I think Kawasaki's attacking style will be a little too tough for Central Coast. Frontale have managed to score the most number of goals in the J League a couple of times not conceding any will be their main aim against the Mariners.
I'm back in Adelaide now and was devastated to see the passes from Endo constantly making United look slow. But I've got a feeling Kengo will be able to do the same to Central Coast. Looking forward to the games.

manyar said...

I hope you're right, Ben.

If Central Coast allow Frontale time in midfield, I think they'll be punished...and not just by Kengo.

However, if they bust a gut to close down quickly and force Frontale into conceding possession in dangerous positions where the defence is left exposed, then they could well end up nicking a goal or two.

I just hope to see Frontale playing to their strengths and not trying to be too cagey.

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