Only two weeks prior, Central Coast Mariners faced Melbourne Victory in the final of the FFA Cup, but despite losing the match, held their heads high on the progress that has been made in such a short space of time. Saturday will be the first meeting between both teams since the final, back at AAMI Park, in front of a raucous Victory home support.
The Mariners have drawn their last two A-League Men games and are looking to re-write their wrongs over Melbourne Victory and the past three meetings between the two clubs have all fallen the way of the Victory.
The Yellow and Navy have been resilient in trying times recently, but Nick Montgomery’s team hasn’t won a competitive game since defeating Sydney FC in the FFA Cup Semi-Final on January 18th , while on the other side of the card, Melbourne Victory are winless in the Isuzu UTE A-League since Boxing Day.
The visitors come into the match following a 1-1 draw against Perth Glory at Central Coast Stadium after dominating much of the contest, while the Victory were defeated 2-1 by Mariners arch-rivals Newcastle Jets and 2-0 against Western Sydney Wanderers in the last seven days.
Speaking to the media, Nick Montgomery touched on the difference that playing in the league can have to playing in a cup match despite playing the same team.
“In terms of strategies and game plans, it’s completely different being a cup final. We limited a very good team to very few chances.
“We go back there now, it’s a league game, it’s different and we will go there looking to put in a good performance.”
The tie though, comes at a great time for the Yellow and Navy as the Victory have also hit a purple-patch, failing to win any game since defeating the Mariners in the FFA Cup Final, and the match is proving to shape as a pivotal clash for both sides’ campaigns.
Midfield youngster, Harry Steele has broken out into the A-League Football scene this season, and the 19-year-old spoke about his pre-season with the senior squad and his impressive performances so far this campaign.
“It’s been really exciting the last six or so months, during pre-season and into the start of pre-season,” he said.
“It wasn’t a big shock to me but obviously with Monty [Nick Montgomery] and Sergio [Raimundo] coming up and with the capability of all us young boys, it has been a really good opportunity for all of us.
It is revenge or repeat for Central Coast Mariners on Saturday as they look to avenge their heart-breaking and tough FFA Cup Final on the very soil they were defeated on, only 2 weeks ago as they take on the Melbourne Victory with kick-off at 7:45pm.
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s MW14
AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th February, 2022
Kick Off: 7:45pm