Melbourne City will be looking to make it two wins on the trot to open the season when they head to Central Coast Stadium to face the Mariners on Saturday afternoon. Ahead of the match, we take a look at the five things we are looking forward to.
City will be looking to make it two wins from two matches in the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League season when they travel to Gosford to face the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
After a huge Melbourne Derby win and as one of only two teams – alongside Wellington Phoenix – to claim maximum points in Round 1, Warren Joyce and his men will be looking to capitalise and extend their strong start to the season.
The Mariners have proven to be a tough opponent on their home deck, but City will be looking to replicate the same defensive resilience and clinical finishing that saw them beat Melbourne Victory last Saturday night.
McGree in a minute...or three
It took just three-minutes for Riley McGree to make a statement in his A-League debut in City blue.
Substituted on in the 67th minute, the Cluwould latch onto a beautiful through ball and score the match winner in the 70th minute with his first touch of the match.
With a considerable list of impressive moments in his career to date, spectators often forget that he is still only 19-years-old.
His finish was clinical and composed, everything you want from an attacker. Whether he starts or is given the chance to impact the game in the second period against the Mariners, there is no doubt the 19-year-old will present as an ever-threatening presence in the attacking third.
Nuts and Bolts
Against cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory in Round 1, City looked most threatening when getting in-behind the defence and exploiting the space in front of them with their speed.
With the likes of Ritchie De Laet and Lachlan Wales added to the squad over the off-season, City will be looked to use the leg speed of their new acquisitions.
In Round 1, both Wales and De Laet showcased their speed, a feat that will no doubt be concerning Central Coast’s back four.
Last weekend Luke Brattan again demonstrated why he is one of our most consistent performers and one of the best passes in the league.
The central midfielder made 59 passes against Victory – the second most on the field – and created two chances.
Alongside those impressive numbers, Brattan produced an incredible assist to set-up the match-winner for Riley McGree.
Brattan has had an impressive pre-season, and will be eager to build on his Round 1 performance at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.
Eugene Galekovic isn’t a four-time A-League Goalkeeper of the Year for no reason.
The 37-year-old used every ounce of his experience to produce three world-class saves – six overall – against Victory.
Two of those saves came in the last 15 minutes of the match to ensure City held on for the three points. Firstly, the City goalkeeper denied Keisuke Honda’s deflected strike before pulling off an unbelievable save to deny James Troisi a stoppage-time equaliser.
He plays one the of the most important roles on the pitch with his leadership and he has again proven that he’s a man that thrives under the pressure of the big stage.
The Mariners will need to be at their clinical best in front of goal to get past this man.