Hyundai A-League preview: Central Coast v Melbourne City FC
The traditional New Year’s Eve clash in Gosford pits the home side against the Hyundai A-League’s glamour outfit in a fitting finale to 2016.
Saturday, 31 December 2016
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City FC
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (7:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields
Assistant Referee 2: James Tesoriero
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 6.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 92.5 Central Coast, 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, 1116 SEN (Melbourne), Coast FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvMCY
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 25.Ryan PETERSON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 17.Josh BINGHAM (promoted), 25.Ryan PETERSON (promoted)
Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – 1 week), 2.Storm ROUX (ankle injury - 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Melbourne City FC Squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21. Ruon TONGYIK, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 34.Denis GENREAU
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Josh ROSE (promoted), 4.Connor CHAPMAN (promoted), 18.Paulo RETRE (promoted)
Outs: 27.Fernando BRANDAN (suspended - 2 weeks)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN (calf – 1-2 weeks), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season), 6.Osama MALIK (quad – 2 weeks)
This is the first meeting of the season between two sides with vastly contrasting backgrounds. The heavily-backed City visit the club with arguably the least resources in Central Coast.
Despite that, it’s hard to fault the desire or heart shown by the Mariners every time they play, but a lack of true star quality and an ability to control matches for long periods has hurt them.
After a promising November, during which the they briefly entered the top six, it’s been lean pickings for the Mariners since; they’ve lost their last four games without ever really looking like snaring points from any of them. Wednesday night’s hammering at the hands of a rampant Melbourne Victory would have been particularly demoralising.
December hasn’t been overly profitable for City either. In fact, they haven’t won any of their four matches this month, collecting just three points from the 12 on offer.
In their defence, they’ve played some pretty good teams, meeting each of the other sides in the top four, and were only denied victory against Perth Glory last time out by the superb goalkeeping of Liam Reddy who saved two penalties.
Everything points to a win for the visitors, who still believe they have the quality to challenge for the top two spots.
- Jake McGing (Mariners) has a pass completion rate of 86.4%; a competition-high (500+ passes attempted).
- City’s Bruno Fornaroli has attempted more shots than any other player in the 2016/17 A-League (41).
- Neil Kilkenny (City) has been awarded more yellow cards than any other player this season (7).
- Bruno Fornaroli has scored three goals in his last three encounters with Central Coast Mariners.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Roy O’Donovan continues to manfully shoulder the Mariners’ goalscoring load almost single-handedly. Without his five goals, Central Coast would really be struggling at the attacking end.
As was suggested recently, imagine what the Irishman could do in a side where he was given better service?
Paul Okon needs a lot more from the likes of Fabio Ferreira and Connor Pain, both of who have shown glimpses of what they’re capable of in attacking situations.
Teenager Trent Buhagiar also has good potential and opened his A-League account in the 4-1 loss to Victory on Wednesday.
It’s hard to look past joint Golden Boot leader Bruno Fornaroli when it comes to goal threats for City, the Uruguayan picking up where he left off last season with nine goals so far this campaign.
Tim Cahill has scored in each of his last three starts and is a constant menace at set pieces with trademark headed goals in the last two games.
John van’t Schip will though be without fiery Argentinean Fernando Brandan after his red card against Glory, but his marquee countryman Nicolas Colazo is starting to consistently deliver on his promise.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK
On Tuesday, polarising forward Fernando Brandan was left out of Melbourne City’s starting eleven for just the second time this season and will miss the next two games after being sent off for a late scuffle with Perth defender Dino Djulbic.
FORM GUIDE (last five games)
Central Coast Mariners: WLLLL
Melbourne City: WDDLD
Mariners 0-3 City