Mariners take one goal advantage into second leg after 2-1 win in Adelaide

The Central Coast Mariners have secured an important 2-1 victory over Adelaide United in the first leg of the semi-finals, taking place at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night. 

Despite conceding early through a penalty it was a dominant first half for the Central Coast, scoring twice to take a one goal lead into the break. 

A controlled second 45 minutes saw the scores unchanged at full time, with the Mariners now returning home to play the Reds next weekend in the second leg. 

Just two minutes into the game it was Adelaide who got off to the perfect start, awarded a penalty. A Hiroshi Ibusuki flick saw the ball fly directly onto the arm of Brian Kaltak, with the referee pointing to the spot. 

Despite picking the right way on the subsequent penalty, Danny Vukovic was unable to stop Craig Goodwin’s effort as the ball tucked into the bottom right corner. Adelaide taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. 

It was the Mariners defender who almost opened our account, finding a loose ball in the penalty area. Kaltak swinging his right leg at it while falling, wrong footing Joe Gauci as the ball flew to the left of the upright.

He did ultimately get an assist three minutes later, laying the ball off to James McGarry 25 yards out. The left back taking a touch before cracking a long-range missile with his right, leaving Gauci to merely stand and watch as it thundered into the net. The goal levelling the scores after some brilliant Mariners play, 1-all in the 15th minute. 

Sammy Silvera almost gave the Mariners a one goal advantage 10 minutes later, collecting the ball just outside the box on the left. He dribbled past two Adelaide defenders before cracking an effort off his right, smashing into the crossbar. Despite hitting the underside, it bounced out, with Adelaide hanging on despite a mountain of pressure. 

The winger again found himself on the ball, playing a magical one-two with Marco Tulio. The Brazilian bamboozling the Adelaide defensive line before Silvera cut the ball across. Jason Cummings getting on the end of it, hitting it goalward before Gauci blocked the shot with a reflex save. 

The pressure soon became too much as Cummings did get his goal, handing the Mariners a lead in the 37th minute. Max Balard started the play by driving goalward, before giving the ball to Beni Nkololo. 

The Frenchman picking out the Socceroos striker, finding him in some space. Cummings drilling the shot low and hard, with Gauci’s intervention not enough as it tucked into the bottom corner. The Mariners taking a deserved one goal advantage. 

Despite the Central Coast continuing to push for another it was not meant to be, with the side taking a 2-1 lead into the break. 

Adelaide came out strong to start the second half, with the Mariners resolute defending holding firm. Craig Goodwin having a free kick early that sailed over, before Nestory Irankunda was brought on in the hopes of changing the home team’s fortunes. 

James McGarry was brought off after a brilliant all-round performance, with Jacob Farrell replacing him to mark the Adelaide youngster. 

He regularly put his body on the line, making multiple remarkable tackles to stop Irankunda. This was partnered with some brilliant saves from captain Danny Vukovic, who continued to demonstrate his remarkable form. 

Harry Steele and Moresche came on shortly after, with the duo making an immediate impact both in attack and defence. The Brazilian forcing Irankunda to make a yellow card challenge, while Steele added fresh legs to a midfield who had dominated the match. 

Farrell was at it again with the Adelaide youngster, making a strong tackle just as he was about to shoot. Hitting it out of danger, the left back teamed up well with Brian Kaltak to thwart any Adelaide attacks running through.  

Christian Theoharous and Dan Hall were the final two substitutes of the night, with Hall dropping into midfield to help see out the result. 11 minutes of stoppage time later the Mariners were victorious, taking a 2-1 win away from Adelaide. 

While it was a strong result against the home team who were favourites on the night, the job is not yet done. It was also the first time this season Adelaide have scored first and ended up losing.

The second leg will take place at Industree Group Stadium next Saturday at 7:45pm, and the team need you there to help get the side into the grand final. 

Tickets are on sale now, so make sure to purchase early HERE to avoid disappointment.