Mariners looking to seal AFC Cup Inter-Zonal Final Spot in India

Central Coast Mariners are looking to seal their place in the AFC Cup Inter-Zonal Final this evening, as they take on Odisha FC in the second leg of their Inter-Zonal Semi-Final.

The Mariners took a huge step towards progressing in the first leg a week ago, running out 4-0 winners at Our Paradise thanks to a brace from Mikael Doka, plus goals from Storm Roux and Ronald Barcellos.

Should the Mariners get the job done in India, their Inter-Zonal Final opponents will be 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.

READ MORE: Mariners take four goal lead into Odisha second leg

Mark Jackson’s side continued their fine form on Sunday, making it seven wins on the bounce in all competitions with a dominant 3-0 victory over Macarthur to move top of the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Josh Nisbet opened the scoring, before Barcellos backed up AFC Cup goals with his first in the A-League, as did Ryan Edmondson who wrapped up the win with a superb finish in the second half.

READ MORE: Milestones galore as Mariners move top with Macarthur masterclass

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ Odisha FC

Ahead of last Thursday’s first leg, Odisha led the way in the Indian Super League, but have since dropped to third as Mumbai City and Jason Cummings’ Mohun Bagan took advantage of games in hand to leapfrog them.

In the AFC Cup, Odisha advanced through the Group Stage with 12 points, recovering from two defeats in their first two by winning the remaining four group games, to top Group D and crown themselves South Zone Champions.

Their danger man is experienced striker Roy Krishna, whose name may be familiar due to his stint in the A-League with Wellington Phoenix in which he netted 50 goals in 122 appearances over five years.

The 36-year-old is the leading scorer in this season’s Indian Super League, with 12 goals in 18 games, whilst Mourtada Fall is Odisha’s leading scorer in the AFC Cup with four.

Krishna has been keeping a keen eye on the A-League since departing Phoenix in 2019, saying he watches every game in his pre-match press conference this week, and he has been impressed by the Mariners as well as his former club this season.

“I’ve been watching the A-League, itโ€™s an easy time to watch in India so I watch most of the games.” Krishna said, speaking ahead of the first leg.

“Central Coast and of course Wellington Phoenix are flying at the moment. I have been keeping tabs on the A-League.”

Odisha and former A-League man Roy Krishna ahead of taking on the Mariners.

“They have young, talented players, they are in the top two for a reason so we respect them.” he added.

Odisha have another familiar name in their ranks in former Mariner Cy Goddard, who is now with the Indian club after a spell with Detroit City, upon leaving the Central Coast in 2022.

Read more about Odisha, via A-Leagues, here.

๐Ÿ—บ Our AFC Cup journey

The Mariners advanced from Group G with four wins, one draw and one loss, finishing a point ahead of Malaysian outfit Terengganu, who crashed out of the competition despite going unbeaten in the group (3 wins, 3 draws).

A 1-1 draw with Terengganu on Matchday five at Our Paradise, put pressure on the Marinersโ€™ tricky trip to the Phillipines on Matchday six, but Jacksonโ€™s side held their nerve and ran out 3-0 winners against Stallions Laguna to book their place in the Zonal Semi-Final against Phnom Penh.

The Cambodian Champions were brushed aside at Our Paradise, with Edmondson’s hat-trick off the bench adding to Jing Reec’s opener to seal a 4-0 win, setting up the Zonal Final with Macarthur.

๐Ÿ“บ Follow the action

The game is available to watch, live and free on 10Play. Alternatively, you can follow all the action via Official Central Coast Mariners Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.