Mariners fall to tough defeat in Adelaide

The Central Coast Mariners have fallen to a defeat on the opening night of the 2023/24 Isuzu UTE A-League season, going down 3-0 to Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium. 

After a strong opening 20 minutes the Mariners were unfortunately hampered by injuries to Brian Kaltak and Alou Kuol, which required both players to be substituted during the first half. 

From there Adelaide were able to capitalise, with the Central Coast never able to chase down the home team’s lead. 

The Mariners looked extremely lively during the opening passages of the game, with Will Wilson having a strong chance just eight minutes in.

Angel Torres finding Marco Tulio with a perfect ‘thread the needle’ pass, before the Brazilian found the youngster with a backheel in the penalty area. Wilson firing it goalward, only to be denied by a strong save from Joe Gauci. 

Adelaide had a couple of early chances of their own, with captain Danny Vukovic coming in clutch on multiple occasions to deny the home side. His first save of note denying Zach Clough from close range, before diving low to his right off an Ibusuki header from a corner. 

Over the next 10 minutes both Kaltak and Kuol were forced to leave the field due to copping separate knocks to the knee. As a result, Noah Smith was brought onto the field, as well Dylan Wenzel-Halls, while Jacob Farrell was moved into the centre of defence. 

Adelaide were able to get their first in the 38th minute, with Ibusuki finding Ben Halloran inside the penalty area. The winger hitting his shot off the underside of the crossbar, bouncing down and over the line to hand them a 1-0 advantage. 

A late Wenzel-Halls chance fell just wide, with that being the final play of note as the Mariners went into the break trailing by a goal. 

It was that man again who had the Central Coast’s first chance of the second half, finding space down the right after collecting a ball from Torres. Wenzel-Halls strike stopped by Gauci, as the Mariners pushed for the equaliser. 

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, as just minutes later the striker gave away a penalty. While tracking back he collected the feet of Ryan Kitto, bringing him down in the box. Clough made no mistake from the spot, extending their lead to two in the 64th minute. 

After receiving his first yellow card in the 77th minute for a challenge on Musa Toure, Jacob Farrell was shown his second two minutes later. The defender sent off after an extremely strong match prior to the send off, where he helped lead the Mariners youthful defence. 

Adelaide scored off the following freekick, with Bernadro finding Nick Ansell free inside the penalty area. There was nothing Vukovic could do as he headed it into the back of the net to score in the 80th minute. 

Our captain did make some spectacular saves in the final minutes to stop the home side from scoring a fourth, with the final result ending 3-0 in Adelaide’s favour. 

Our eyes now turn to Thursday night’s home AFC Cup match against Bali United, before we back it up just days later when we face Macarthur at home on Sunday afternoon. 

Get tickets to our AFC Cup match by clicking HERE and our A-League Men’s match HERE!