On Sunday evening, football will finally return to the Coast for the first time in six months as Sydney FC make the trip up the M1 to face their old rivals Central Coast Mariners in what is sure to be a thrilling contest at Central Coast Stadium.
The Mariners will be looking to open their run of four December home games with a win in front of a vocal home crowd for the first time this season and will see goalkeeper Mark Birighitti return to the squad following his one match suspension. Last round against Macarthur, Mariners had to call on 17-year-old, Lawrence Caruso, after starting keeper Yaren Sözer picked up a quad injury in the first half and while putting in a great performance, was un-done by a horrible deflection which saw the ball nestle in the corner when it was heading comfortably wide.
Mariners will have more or less a full squad to call upon and will be bolstered by the return of Nicolai Müller who is yet to have any minutes of action this season after picking up an injury during pre-season which has seen him sidelined for some time. The German midfielder joined the club from Western Sydney Wanderers and was highlighted as a key player for Head Coach Nick Montgomery if the club were to maintain a top three finish.
Of note is the number of chances that the Mariners are continuing to create in the opening rounds of the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s competition. No team has had more shots on target this season than the Yellow and Navy with a total of 19 across three matches. Costa Rican Marco Ureña has been leading the line and has already netted one goal but bolsters the most amount of shots and shots on target in the league with 17 and 8 respectively.
On the flip side, Sydney FC come into this match after playing on Wednesday night in the FFA Cup where they won in extra time against Macarthur FC. Last year’s grand finalists will be without defender Rhyan Grant who tested positive to COVID-19 along with the injured Luke Brattan, Michael Zullo and Conor O’Toole. The Sky Blues drew 2-2 with Newcastle Jets in last week’s Saturday night clash where Adam Le Fondre and Elvis Kamsoba found the net in the first half before the Jets fought back for a point a piece.
Mariners Head Coach Nick Montgomery spoke to the press pre-game and is excited to finally play some football at Central Coast Stadium.
“Five away games to start the season has been a challenge for the supporters as well as the team but we are all looking forward to finally playing at home and having a strong crowd as our 12th man.”
Tickets for the match can be purchased here.
Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s
Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast, NSW
Gates Open: 4:45pm AEDT
Kick Off: 6:15pm AEDT