The Central Coast Mariners kick off our finals series tonight at Coopers Stadium, taking on Adelaide United in the first leg of the semi-finals.
Off the back of a dominant 4-1 victory against the Reds a fortnight ago, as well as a weekend off for finishing second, the side are raring to get back out on the pitch this evening.
The match is the first of two between the sides, with the second leg to take place at Industree Group Stadium next Saturday at 7:45pm. Tickets are on sale HERE!
The Central Coast Mariners have made just one change to the squad that defeated Adelaide in our last trip, remaining otherwise settled.
Yaren Sozer returns after overcoming an injury that saw him miss three matches, taking the place of 17-year-old Anthony Pavlesic.
The youngster featured on the team sheet in those three matches for the first time in his A-League career.
Adelaide have promoted two players on top of the 18 players that took the field against Wellington Phoenix, with Zach Clough and Alexandar Popovic returning. The Englishman has not featured since round 24 due to injury, with him expected to play tonight.
The Reds are still without Harry Van der Saag, Josh Cavallo, Juande and Jonny Yull due to injury.
Since the international break the Central Coast Mariners have been in sensational form, picking up 13 of a possible 15 points while going undefeated across the five games.
Strong wins against Brisbane, Western and Newcastle were ultimately rounded out with the incredible performance against Adelaide, seeing the side finish the season in second place.
The team have had a weekend off after bypassing the elimination finals, looking to continue the good form heading into the semis.
It had been a tough few weeks for Adelaide, winning one of their previous five matches. That result did come at a crucial time, defeating Wellington last weekend to secure their spot in the semi-finals.
A double from captain Craig Goodwin was enough to grab the 2-0 victory, looking the better of the two sides for a large proportion of their match.
Statistically, matches between the Mariners and Adelaide have been some of the tightest in the competition, with the teams often trading results.
Across 54 A-League matches between the two sides the Mariners have scored two extra goals, coming out on top in 23 matches. Adelaide have been victorious in 24, alongside seven draws.
Recent history has been on the Mariners side, with the Central Coast winning both of the games between the two teams this year.
A 4-0 win at Industree Group Stadium was followed up by a pleasing 4-1 win at Coopers Stadium recently.
Marco Tulio was the hero on that evening, scoring twice. Goals to Beni Nkololo and Harry Steele rounded out the performance, with the Mariners finishing 8-1 aggregate winners over the two fixtures.
1. James DELIANOV (gk), 3.Ben WARLAND, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Louis D’ARRIGO, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Hiroshi IBUSUKI, 10.Zach CLOUGH, 11.Craig GOODWIN (c), 13.Lachlan BARR, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 18.Jay BARNETT, 21.Javi LÓPEZ, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 35.Luka JOVANOVIĆ, 36.Panashe MADANHA, 41.Alexandar POPOVIĆ, 46.Joe GAUCI (gk), 55.Ethan ALAGICH, 66.Nestory IRANKUNDA
Ins: 10.Zach CLOUGH, 41.Alexandar POPOVIĆ
Unavailable: 2.Harry VAN DER SAAG (knee), 27.Josh CAVALLO (Achilles), 28.JUANDE (leg), 37.Jonny YULL (back)
Central Coast Mariners
3. Brian KALTAK, 4. Joshua NISBET, 5. James MCGARRY, 6. Maximilien BALARD, 7. Samuel SILVERA, 9. Jason CUMMINGS, 10. Matheus MORESCHE, 11. Beni NKOLOLO, 13. Harry STEELE, 14. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 15. Storm ROUX, 18. Jacob FARRELL, 20. Danny VUKOVIC, 23. Daniel HALL, 24. Yaren Sozer, 25. Nectarios TRIANTIS, 28. James BAYLISS, 31. Christian THEOHAROUS, 39. Miguel DI PIZIO, 98. Marco TULIO
Ins: 24. Yaren Sozer
Outs: 40. Anthony Pavlesic
Unavailable: Bradley TAPP (injury)
Adelaide United vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, May 13th
Kick-off: 7:45pm AEST
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on 10Bold and Paramount+