A-League Preview: City v Central Coast

The clash

Following a tough result in Wellington on Sunday night, City return to AAMI Park on Friday night in search of three points ahead of the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

In Round 26, City suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss to the ‘Nix at Westpac Stadium, as Roy Krishna sealed the points and his hat trick with a stoppage time winner.

The Fijian opened the scoring for the hosts with a neat dink over City shot-stopper Eugene Galekovic. Despite Wellington taking the lead, City hit back right before half-time as Riley McGree pounced on Filip Kurto’s double save with a neat finish to equalise just before the break.

After a flurry of missed opportunities to take the lead in the opening five minutes from the visitor’s, City were left to rue their missed chances as Krishna restored Wellington’s lead with a powerful finish from just outside the 18-yard box. In the 66th minute, McGree spurred yet another comeback, as a shallow ‘Nix clearance was punished brilliantly by the attacker – with a neat turn and finish into the bottom corner. Moments later Shayon Harrison went inches away from finding a third for City, as his dead ball strike beat Kurto for pace before cannoning into the crossbar.

It was heartbreak for City in the fourth minute of added time as Krishna pounced on a goalmouth scramble to snatch the three points and secure his hattrick in Wellington.

City return home to take on the Mariners, a team that will be full of confidence following their spirited 3-1 win over the Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.

Central Coast opened the scoring in the 34th minute when skipper Matt Simon fired the hosts ahead with a fierce set-piece. Five minutes into the second-half Simon would extend the Mariners lead with a powerful effort from the penalty spot. Moments later Alen Stajcic’s side would make it 3-0 as Kye Rowles latched onto a free header from a corner to register his first goal.

In the 67th minute, Mark Bridge made it 3-1 with a perfectly struck penalty, but it proved to be merely a consolation goal at the Mariners secured the points.

With City eager to return to winning ways ahead of next week’s Elimination Final and the Mariners keen to finish their season on a high, we are set for an intriguing battle under Friday night lights.

Team news

Two key inclusions headline this week’s team news. See the full Team News here.

Last time they met

The last time the two teams met was decided by a late spot kick, as the Mariners ran out 2-1 winners at Central Coast Stadium in Round 12.

Connor Pain opened the scoring for the Mariners in the 32nd minute, before Lachlan Wales hit back with his first goal against his former side. With one minute of regulation time remaining, Matt Simon snatched the three points for the hosts as his initial penalty was saved by Eugene Galekovic, before the Central Coast skipper put away the rebound.

What was said

Head Coach Warren Joyce

“All games you want to win, there’s no easy games and there’s no free rides. We want to win this game and end it in a good vein of form, scoring as many goals as we possibly can.

Where and when

City host Central Coast Mariners on Friday 26 April, kick-off 7:50pm. Get your tickets here.