Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Central Coast Mariners
Central Coast Mariners
The A-League finals have arrived! For one of the Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur FC, though, their battle in Gosford will bring to a close their 2020-21 season. Follow along as the season enters the home straight right here on The Roar with live scores from 7:05pm (AEST).
It has been a stunning turnaround for the Mariners this season, after three consecutive wooden spoons had made them as close to a laughing stock as a professional team can be. Led expertly by Alen Stajcic, the long-time cellar-dwellers have been the competition’s biggest revelation, to finish the home-and-away rounds in third and book a first finals berth in seven long years.
Their recent form, however, has been patchy, having failed to win consecutive matches since early March and even suffering a worrying 2-0 loss to lowly Newcastle a fortnight ago. A 2-0 win over Western United in their most recent encounter was enough to secure the Mariners a home final, but given United’s immense struggles at the end of the season and the fact they dominated much of the match, that was far from as convincing as the scoreline reads. They will undoubtedly gain more confidence from having defeated Macarthur themselves all three times they have met this season, including a 2-1 victory just 16 days ago.
With the choice of either the Mariners or the Brisbane Roar as elimination final opponents, Macarthur might not be too disappointed with finishing just a goal behind the fifth-placed Adelaide United. The A-League newbies haven’t set the world on fire in recent times, either, finishing the home-and-away rounds with a 3-0 loss to Wellington. Just as crucially, they haven’t beaten any of their five fellow finalists since February.
The Gosford faithful have been starved of success for the better part of a decade, and the majority of neutral fans would surely like to see the Mariners do them proud with a drought-breaking win at home. Should they do so, they will battle Sydney FC for a spot in the grand final; while for Macarthur FC, a date with the suddenly shaky Melbourne City will be the reward for a maiden finals triumph.
Kick-off time: 7:05pm (AEST)
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
TV: ABC TV (delayed, begins 9:05pm (AEST)), Fox Sports 5 (505, live)
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go, MyFootball Live app
Betting: Mariners $1.91, Macarthur FC $3.60, draw $3.60 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Mark Birighitti (gk), 3. Lewis Miller, 4. Joshua Nisbet, 5. Stefan Nigro, 6. Gianni Stensness, 10. Daniel De Silva, 11. Jack Clisby, 12. Marco Urena, 14. Daniel Bouman, 15. Kye Rowles, 19. Matt Simon, 20. Adam Pearce (gk), 22. Michal Janota, 23. Dan Hall, 25. Matt Hatch, 26. Jaden Casella, 29. Alou Kuol, 30. Jordan Smylie, 32. Max Balard, 41. Jing Reece
1. Adam Federici (gk), 2. Jake McGing, 3. Antony Golec, 4. Benat Etxebarria, 5. Mark Milligan (c), 7. Ivan Franjic, 11. Tommy Oar, 12. James Meredith, 14. Moudi Najjar, 15. Aleksandar Susnjar, 16. Nick Suman (gk), 19. Michael Ruhs, 21. Jake Hollman, 22. Liam Rose, 23. Walter Scott, 24. Charles M’Mombwa, 27. Matt Derbyshire, 29. Antonis Martis, 31. Lachlan Rose, 33. Markel Susaeta