Wanderers extract revenge on Mariners
The Wanderers have extracted some form of revenge for last year's grand final loss to Central Coast by beating the fatigued Mariners 2-0 at Parramatta Stadium.
The Western Sydney Wanderers have extracted some form of revenge for last year's A-League grand final loss to Central Coast by beating the fatigued Mariners 2-0 at Parramatta Stadium.
First-half goals to Tomi Juric and Youssouf Hersi were enough to see off a Mariners side that was outplayed for most of the night and looked tired after the club's second outing in five days.
The Wanderers possessed speed in everything they did and tortured the visitors down the flanks and though the middle with their pace and precision passing before a loud and appreciative crowd of just under 16,000.
The win won't make up for the grand final defeat but it has assured Tony Popovic's men of second position heading onto Christmas.
Central Coast stay sixth after a second loss in three starts.
After a pulsating opener to what was a cracking contest, it was no great surprise to see the Wanderers go one-up after 20 minutes via a classy finish from Juric.
Iacopo La Rocca's initial attempt deflected off Marcel Seip and into the path of the unmarked Juric at the back post.
He positioned his body perfectly for the overhead kick, leaving Liam Reddy no chance with a powerfully struck shot from the edge of the six-yard box.
The goal stunned the Mariners into action and they probably should have equalised soon after.
Josh Rose saw his shot blocked before Marcos Flores found himself with no keeper in sight and an open net, only for Matthew Spiranovic to brilliantly slide in and pull the ball back from a seemingly hopeless situation.
The visitors were duly punished for their wastefulness.
Just past the half-hour mark, the Wanderers poured forward in numbers and found Shinji Ono lurking out wide on the right.
The former Japanese international didn't waste a second sending a first-time ball across the face of goal for Hersi to slam home for a 2-0 lead.
The half-time whistle came as a relief to the tiring Mariners, but the reprieve was short-lived.
The Wanderers, on the back of a lengthy break between games, kept up the intensity after the break and almost went three goals to the good when Jerome Polenz's thundering volley scraped the side netting shortly after the resumption.
The hosts continued to threaten but could not find the third goal that would have given a more accurate picture of their domination.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Juric 20, Hersi 33) Central Coast Mariners 0 Crowd: 15,786 at Parramatta Stadium