Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC
Get ready for derby drama as Mariners aim to continue their quest for glory
Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC Sunday 23rd January 5:00pm
Get ready for derby drama as Mariners aim to continue their quest for glory while simultaneously killing their rival-s top six dreams!
Derby games are always a bit special, but this one is especially mouth-watering as there is so much more than just local bragging rights at stake at the Bluetongue on Sunday. Mariners approach the game knowing that a win will help them further cement their top-two place, while Sydney-s top-six aspirations are hanging by the thinnest of threads.
Anything but a win here would surely end any lingering hopes the Champions have of an incredible late burst into the Grand Finals places. It-s got all the ingredients for the ultimate derby belter on Sunday. Experience the thrills and spills live!
Mariners will take inspiration from the last time the Champions visited the Bluetongue, when they wiped the floor with their opponents. Any supporter who turned up a little late would have arrived to find the game as good as over as a contest, after Mariners flew into a two goal lead in the first five minutes through Adam Kwasnik and Matt Simon.
It was three before half-time and four at the final whistle and proved to be one of the most memorable games in Central Coast-s history. They-ll be looking for something similar this Sunday, as they aim to remain unbeaten across the three games against Sydney in this outstanding Hyundai A-League season.
While the memory of that awful afternoon at the Bluetongue still haunts Sydney, they-ll go into the game hopeful for revenge and buoyed by the performance they put in the last time they travelled away from home.
Then, it was another New South Wales derby game against a very decent Newcastle side and the Sky Blues showed a combination of style and grit amid a pressure cooker atmosphere to end a five-match losing streak. It was midfielder Hirofumi Moriyasu that got the ball rolling, with his first ever Hyundai A-League goal in the 36th minute, before top scorer Bruno Cazarine doubled the away side-s advantage with a wonderful long range effort.
Despite Jets pegging one back through substitute Labinot Haliti in the 66th minute, Sydney showed great resolve to hold on for a big win. Desperately trying to push up the table and sneak into the top six, they showed similar determination last weekend at home to bitter rivals Melbourne Victory. Having played really well, they still found themselves staring defeat in the face thanks to Danny Allsopp's 51st minute goal.
A loss would have all but ended their fading Grand Finals dreams, so substitute striker Juho Makela-s injury-time equaliser was enough to send The Cove wild. While the draw wasn-t an ideal result, and leaves Sydney with a huge amount to do if they are make the end-of-season shake-up, it at least maintained an unbeaten run that has seen Vitezslav Lavicka-s men pick up seven points from nine.
If they can show such determination this Sunday, then there is every chance they can pick up another result and keep their season alive for another week at least.
Should they not make the Grand Finals, then at least the future is looking bright for the Sky Blues, with teenager Dimitri Petratos becoming the latest youngster to pledge his future to the club, having last week re-signed for a further two seasons. Along with fellow young stars Terry Antonis (17), Rhyan Grant (19), Kofi Danning (19), Sebastian Ryall (21) and Scott Jamieson (22), his presence makes for an exciting looking future for Sydney FC. It-s the New South Wales derby between these two big rivals at the Bluetongue on Sunday, and it is sure to be a cracker. No matter where the Sky Blues lie in the table, they are always well represented by their passionate and noisy fans, so it-s up to the Yellow Army to give as good as they get. Secure a ticket today and warm up your vocal chords in preparation for a belting derby contest!