Kashiwa Reysol coach Nelsinho Baptista has lauded the Central Coast Mariners' spirit after his side defeated the A-League champions 3-0.
Kashiwa Reysol coach Nelsinho Baptista has lauded the Central Coast Mariners spirit and application after his side defeated the Hyundai A-League champions 3-0 in Gosford on Tuesday evening to progress unbeaten to the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League.
The result is a fillip for Baptista's team who are languishing in 11th place on the J-League ladder after eight games and were on the end of a 4-0 hiding on Friday, a stark contrast to their Asian Champions League form for the 2012 Emperor's Cup winners.
The 62-year-old Brazilian, now in his fifth year at Kashiwa, said his side faced a well-drilled Mariners outfit which was led around the park by All Whites international Michael McGlinchey.
"The whole (Mariners) team was quite tight in defence," said the former Sao Paulo player via an interpreter.
"They played very well, particularly McGlinchey who was the standout player and definitely a playmaker.
"During the first half we tried and tried but we were shut down by the Mariners."
After numerous Mariners chances the visitors scored against the run of play in the 59th minute which saw the floodgates open and Baptista was pleased to get the breakthrough.
"It wasn't until the second half that was more of a turning point," he said.
"More than ever the result reflects on the players of Kashiwa Reysol and their ability to keep preserving.
"We felt that we could get the win."
When asked if the result reflected a gulf in class between the two competitions, given the Mariners A-League champions status, Baptista dismissed the suggestion.
"The Mariners are a good side and if we meet again it will definitely be a tight game," he said.
"I don't like to judge teams on single games (and despite the result) the Mariners are still a good side."