Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC
Who can forget the last time these two teams met?
Date: Saturday August 23 Kick-off (local time): 7:00pm AEST Venue: Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 3 and Sky Sports 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM.
Head-to-head Ten Hyundai A-League meetings: Central Coast - 3 wins, Sydney - 5 wins, Draws 2
Previous Hyundai A-League meeting Central Coast Mariners 4 Sydney FC 5, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, Round 15, December 2008
Results so far Central Coast Mariners: Round 1: Newcastle Jets 1 Central Coast Mariners 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Sydney: Round 1: Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney Football Stadium
Analysis Who can forget the last time these two teams met? A match postponed by rain was then held as a stand alone fixture on the weekend before Christmas. There were nine goals, the most of any A-League match, and Sydney won it in the 95th minute.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Sydney bowed out of the finals at the first hurdle, Central Coast won the premiership but lost the Grand Final and John Aloisi has swapped sides. Not to mention, Sydney has recruited Mark Bridge, Simon Colosimo, Stuart Musialik and a few other more than handy players.
John Kosmina won't have Aloisi this week. He is another week away with a foot injury. Skipper Tony Popovic is sidelined with a virus, Adam Biddle an ankle sprain, Mitch Prentice through suspension and Brendon Santalab with a thigh strain.
But in a much needed boost for the side, Musialik and Bridge are back from Olympic duty, while Alex Brosque returns from suspension. They are three massive ins after an inexperienced side did very well to secure a point in a 0-0 draw against Melbourne last week. Dez Giraldi is also back.
Shannon Cole and Chris Payne both impressed in that match with Cole unlucky not to score after hitting the post from a free kick. It will be interesting to see if Kosmina gives them significant game time this week.
The Mariners were unlucky to concede an injury-time penalty against the Jets after it looked like Matt Simon had given them a winner in the final minutes. The result was probably fair, given that the Jets had created the better chances, but Brad Porter will be having a few nightmares about his ill-advised tackle on Tarek Elrich which led to the spot kick. Nevertheless, it was a positive start for the reigning premiers, who were missing up to six first-choice players.
Dylan McAllister and Nigel Boogard both come back from injury while Mark Bosnich will sit on the bench in his first Hyundai A-League appearance. Andre Gumprecht, Mile Jedinak, Greg Owens and Dean Heffernan are all still out and that makes it tough for Lawrie McKinna's men.
Sydney has a good record at Gosford having won two of the four matches it has played there, while the Mariners have won one and drawn one.
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 13. Paul O'GRADY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 40. Mark BOSNICH (gk) *two to be omitted.
In. 11. Dylan MACALLISTER (Returns from Injury), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD (Returns from Injury), 40. Mark BOSNICH (New signing).
Out. 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk) (International Duty - Qantas Young Socceroos).
Unavailable. 2. Andre GUMPRECHT (Knee - Indefinite), 8. Dean HEFFERNAN (Leg - Indefinite), 12. Greg OWENS (Hamstring - Indefinite), 23. Mile JEDINAK (Groin - Indefinite).
Sydney FC Squad: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 7. Robbie MIDDLEBY, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 16. Chris PAYNE, 17. Jacob TIMPANO, 18. Adam CASEY, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 25. Robert MILESKI, 26. Dez GIRALDI *One to be omitted
In. Alex Brosque (return suspension), Stuart Musialik (return national duty), Dez Giraldi (return suspension).
Out. Nik Tsattalios (national duty), Ryan Walsh (trial period ended).
Unavailable. Tony Popovic (virus - 1 week), Adam Biddle (ankle injury - 1 week), John Aloisi (foot injury - 1 week), Mitchell Prentice (suspended - 1 week) Brendon Santalab (thigh injury - 2 weeks) and Mike Enfield (knee injury - 6 weeks).