It’s been misery for the Mariners against Sydney FC this season, but Saturday offers a last chance to get one over the Sky Blues in the regular season. It's always a feisty fixture so expect a full-blooded encounter at Allianz Stadium between these NSW rivals.
Saturday, 21 February 2015
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 5pm (Local) (5pm AEDT)
Sydney FC: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 25.Aaron CALVER, 26. Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 6. Nikola PETKOVIC (return from suspension), 26. Jacques FATY (return from suspension)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite)
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Matthew NASH (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 14.Travis MAJOR, 15.Matt SIM, 16.Liam ROSE, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Anthony KALIK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.Fabio FERREIRA
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 5.Zac ANDERSON (promoted), 18.Glen TRIFIRO (promoted)
Unavailable: 17.Richard VERNES (shoulder – indefinite), 21.Michael NEILL (foot – indefinite)
Sydney FC aren’t going to get a better chance to end their long winless run at home than with an out-of-sorts and confidence-sapped Central Coast coming to Moore Park.
The Mariners had the disappointment of being bundled out of the ACL on Tuesday night with a limp 3-1 loss at home against Guangzhou R&F. It will be interesting to see how that blow will affect them for the rest of the season.
Coach Phil Moss will hope it will be positive and they put all their energy into finishing as high as possible on the A-League ladder. It won't be easy though.
The Sky Blues have more than matched it with the top-two sides over the last fortnight and will see this is a fixture they must win to not only stay in touch with the top four but also keep their premiership hopes alive.
Graham Arnold’s side’s next five games are all against teams below them on the ladder, presenting a good opportunity to get on a good run.
Expect a new-look defence for the Sky Blues this week with Nikola Petkovic and Jacques Faty back from suspension. The pair are likely to come straight back into the heart of defence, with Sebastian Ryall expected to move out to the right meaning Aaron Calver and Matthew Jurman could make way.
Moss has added Zac Anderson and Glen Trifiro to his squad and is likely to make a host of changes to the side that lost in the ACL on Tuesday.
Skipper John Hutchinson, Trifiro and Anderson are all contenders for starting spots.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Sydney FC have scored as many goals in their last three A-League games (11) as they had in their previous 12.
-The Sky Blues have won none of their last six home games (D3 L3).
-Central Coast are yet to win away from home in the A-League this season (D5 L2).
-Sydney FC have won their last two against the Mariners. They’ve not won three in a row against them since August 2008.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Sydney have found their goal-scoring boots in recent week, bagging 11 goals in their three games since the Asian Cup break.
Marquee man Marc Janko has scored four of those – including a brace against the Mariners last month – but with six different goal-scorers they have threats everywhere.
How Mariners boss Moss would love to have the firepower at close mate Arnold’s disposal.
Only the bottom two clubs Newcastle and Western Sydney have scored less than the Mariners who are struggling to create genuine chances. Fabio Ferreira does give them added pace out wide but more is needed from Anthony Caceres, Nick Fitzgerald and Matt Simon.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Superstar Shane Smeltz.
The Kiwi international proved he still knows where the goal is with a brace off the bench against Victory last weekend.
While Smeltz might not start as much as he used to or have the same pace and power as in previous years, his ability to find the back of the net cannot be questioned.
The stats don’t lie: 82 career A-League goals is testament to that. He’s likely to start from the bench again but if things aren’t going right for the Sky Blues it’s a fantastic weapon for Arnold to call on.
It’s been a tough week for the Mariners, following up their 2-0 defeat in the A-League against Brisbane Roar last weekend with a disappointing 3-1 loss to Chinese side Guangzhou R & F on Tuesday night. Their last five games in the A-League have resulted in two losses, two wins and a draw.
Sydney have won both clashes between the two clubs already this season, scoring seven goals in the process. Currently Sydney are on an unbeaten run of five games (drawing three and winning two). The Sky Blues missed the chance to close the gap on the top four, coming from behind twice to steal a 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory last Saturday night.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sydney FC have scored more penalties than any other A-League side this season (five), while the Gosford-based Mariners are the only side yet to score from the penalty spot.
Sydney FC 3-0 Central Coast Mariners
Not too long ago the Mariners seemed to have the wood over Sydney FC, winning regularly home and away. How times have changed this season. The Sky Blues have bullied their NSW rivals on both occasions and with the home side in blistering goal-scoring form, it’s hard to see anything but a comfortable Sydney FC victory.comments