Team News and Match Preview: Jacko makes two changes

We are now less than an hour away from arguably the biggest game in Central Coast Mariners history, as we take on Al-Ahed in the AFC Cup Final at 2am AEST, Monday 5th May.

An incredible journey that has seen us travel over 100,000 kilometres throughout the competition, our first time in the AFC Cup, ends in Oman this morning.

Mark Jackson has named his team, with two changes from the side that defeated Adelaide United on Wednesday, to take on the Lebanese Champions. Here you can read all about those changes, plus the players to look out for and all the information on how to watch this unmissable game, live and free.

READ MORE: Our Road to the AFC Cup Final

🗞 Team news

A key figure in our AFC Cup journey with crucial goals against Terengganu and Abdysh-Ata, 18-year-old starlet Miguel Di Pizio is rewarded with a start in the final.

Ryan Edmondson, who scored his first goals for the club with a hat-trick against Phnom Penh in the first knockout round, also comes into the starting eleven.

Alou Kuol and Storm Roux drop to the bench, which is stacked with options for Jacko who has used his subs to great effect recently and has 10 players to choose from this evening as per AFC regulations. The Mariners have had four goals scored by substitutes in our last three games.

👀 Players to watch: Doka’s AFC Cup joy and two former Leeds United forwards…

Mikael Doka has been the main man in the Mariners surge for a treble and has particularly shone in the AFC Cup.

No player has scored more goals in the knockout stages (4), whilst the Brazilian also has two assists to his name.

Edmondson is second to Doka with three knockout goals, tied with Al-Ahed’s main man, Lee Erwin who netted a brace to send the club to their second final AFC Cup Final in five years.

A coincidental connection between the two opposing strikers is the fact that they both played for Leeds United in England. However, their time at the Yorkshire club did not quite align, only by a matter of months as Edmondson signed for Leeds in November 2017 after Erwin had left the club in July.

The two have however previously locked horns in the Scottish Premiership, when Edmondson was on loan at Aberdeen and Erwin was playing for St Mirren in 2020.

Completely differing career paths have led them both to this point where they will clash again in an AFC Cup Final, Erwin first left Scotland for a brief spell in Iranian football with Tractor SC before returning to play for Ross Country and St Mirren.

The former Scottish Youth international has since been on a unique journey, signing for Finnish side Haka where he won the Veikkausliiga Golden Boot with 20 goals in 28 games, earning himself a move to Lebanon with Al-Ahed for whom he has currently scored 15 goals in 28 games so far.

READ MORE: Al Ahed: Who Are Our AFC Cup Final Opponents

Edmondson on the other hand, enjoyed four loans away from Leeds before departing permanently to Carlisle United, winning promotion to the English third tier with the Blues before linking up with former coach Jackson on the Central Coast in January.

🗣 From the gaffer and the skipper:

📺 Staying up? How to watch:

Stream the game live and free, with coverage from 1:45am ahead of 2am kick-off, on 10 Play! Alternatively, follow live updates and turn on notifications on Official Central Coast Mariners channels so you don’t miss a beat!