First leg win enough as goalless draw sees Mariners through

Central Coast Mariners confirmed their place in the AFC Cup Inter Zonal Final after a goalless draw against Odisha, in 35 degree heat in India.

The Mariners restricted their hosts to not a single shot on target, as Danny Vukovic made yet another clean sheet.

Mark Jackson’s side have now not conceded a goal in over 450 minutes of football, whilst keeping 10 clean sheets in their last 12 in all competitions.

There was little to report on the night in truth, the Mariners did fashion 17 shots, but would be unable to find any goals to add to their lead.

Mikael Doka did have an opportunity from the penalty spot, after Ryan Edmondson was scythed down in the box on 26 minutes, but the Brazlian’s penalty unfortunately came back off the post after he had sent Amrinder Singh the wrong way.

The closest they came after that was Brad Tapp’s sweetly struck half volley that whistled wide on 33 minutes.

Off the bench in the second half, Christian Theoharous had a couple of lively moments down the left hand side, coming close on 74 minutes but his low strike was pushed away by Amrinder.

That was the best either side could muster, as Vukovic went untroubled again and the Mariners knew by this point that the damage caused in the first leg was not going to be undone.

The Mariners can now prepare for an Inter-Zonal Final clash with Kyrgyzstan Top Liga side FK Abdish-Ata Kant, after they convincingly beat Taichung Futuro FC 8-1 on aggregate in the other Inter-Zonal Semi-Final.

For now, the Mariners have a welcome break after their return flight from India, with no A-League fixture until March 30th, upon which a huge period begins as Jackson’s side take Sydney FC, before Wellington and Melbourne City in the space of eight days.