Melbourne City FC will be looking to make it three wins on the trot when they host Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Warren Joyce’s men are undefeated in their last three matches and are coming off back-to-back 3-0 wins against Western Sydney and Newcastle.
Last Sunday, the team in City blue travelled to McDonald Jones Stadium for a blockbuster top-four clash where they returned with three points after scoring three goals.
Bruno Fornaroli opened the scoring in Newcastle with a 42nd minute strike from close range, after Luke Brattan’s dangerous corner fell to the striker at the back post.
Dario Vidosic’s second-half brace sealed the points for the away side, as the midfielder netted a towering header in the 53rd minute from Brattan’s corner before firing a free-kick into the back of the net in the 77th minute.
As impressive as the attacking third has been over the past fortnight, Joyce will be just as pleased to have secured back-to-back clean sheets.
Despite their recent run of form, it won’t be easy for the home side as they come up against a Mariners outfit who will be determined to close out a tough season on a high.
Central Coast are coming off a frustrating 1-0 loss to the in-form Brisbane Roar away at Suncorp Stadium. Despite conceding in the 13th minute when Henrique found the back of the net for the hosts, Central Coast had multiple opportunities to equalise through Andrew Hoole, Connor Pain and Blake Powell.
The visitor’s will need to be more clinical in front of goal this weekend as they face a City side determined to secure their place in third position.
Osama Malik returns to the squad for the first time in six weeks, recovering from his quad injury. See our full Team News.
Last time they met
The last time the two teams met was in Round 20 when Marcin Budzinski’s 86th minute equaliser salvaged a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Central Coast Stadium.
The home side opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Alan Baro found the back of the net, before City hit back on the stroke of half-time through Ross McCormack.
Five minutes into the second-half, Central Coast would restore their lead through Jake McGing before Marcin Budzinski’s late heroics saw Warren Joyce and his men return to Melbourne with a share of the spoils.
What was said
Melbourne City forward Dario Vidosic
We're looking forward to it. We know Central Coast don't have much to play for but it will be a test and we'll be ready. We always want to put out best foot forward and finish as high as we can. They play good football and it'll be a tough test but we need to treat it as a final and prepare for the Finals Series that is coming up.
Central Coast midfielder Liam Rose
“It’s going to be a tough game. They’ve hit some great form, they’ve got some great players like Daniel Arzani who has started to show his potential and guys like Bruno Fornaroli but that won’t change our game plan – we’re going to go in and work hard for the win.
Where and when
City host Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park in their last home game for the season on Saturday night, kick-off 7:50pm, before travelling to Wellington to face the Phoenix on Saturday, 14th April, at QBE Stadium.
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 501. You can also follow all the actions as it happens by following our official Twitter account @MelbourneCity.