Mariners through with one

By Chris Dunkerley:
Hyundai A-League 2013/14 season, Finals Series
Major Elimination Final

4:30pm, Saturday 19 April, 2014
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Bernie Ibini-Isei 67′)
Adelaide United FC 0

Central Coast Mariners FC are through to the ‘minor’ semi-final with a close fought 1-0 win over Adelaide United at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday evening.

With ACL action in play Mariners coach Phil Moss left captain John Hutchinson, and Kim Seung-yong, on the bench. Josep Gombau at the helm of the Reds started without a recognised central striker.

The Mariners played on the break against Brisbane last week and have been accused of negative play, but the first attack was from them, with Bernie Ibini-Isei laying a through ball to Nick Fitzgerald in the 5th minute. It was hit a bit long and he couldn’t make Eugene Galekovic in the Adelaide goal work hard.

Although the Reds had the better of possession in the first half, which never rose to great heights, it was the home side that got into dangerous positions – although Jeronimo twice in the middle of the half created half-chances.

The second half was a much better standard, with the keepers at last having to earn their pay.

In the 67th minute Mitchell Duke, quickly played in on the break by Nick Fitzgerald, was forced to stretch out in making his lay-off outside the area for Ibini-Isei – whose run was free as Nick Fitzgerald had then made a dummy run and taken his marker. Bernie took a delicate touch, and with the ball sitting up perfectly he blasted it past Galekovic. 1-0

A late Bruce Djite strike was parried away by Reddy, and scrambled clear.

Handbags at the end just when both teams really needed to stay focused, so the whistle went about 100 mins after it had all started- giving the Mariners their 5th final four spot out of 9 seasons.

“It will be a great test,” Mariners coach Phil Moss said of the coming Wanderers match.

“There is history obviously from last year’s Grand Final, but it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure. All the pressure will be on them next week [because] everyone is expecting them to get through to the big one”, he added

“Although we’re an emerging squad we have plenty of players who know how to win big games and I think that shone through tonight as well.” “We’ll turn up to Pirtek [Stadium] next week and won’t be a push over, that’s for sure.”
“No one has tipped us to make the Grand Final, let alone win it, so it will be nice to come home from Japan and go into a game like that with nothing to lose,” he said.

The A-League champions travel to Japan for their final ACL group game against Sanfrecce Hiroshima which is on Wednesday, requiring a win (but perhaps a draw) to progress in that competition, and then arrive back on Friday before a Saturday semi-final against the Wanderers (who too have ACL action, but at home this week).

Crowd: 9,045

Central Coast Mariners FC
Player listing: 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Josh ROSE, 5. Zac ANDERSON, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9. Mitchell DUKE (19. Matt SIMON 82’), 11. Nick FITZGERALD (21. Mile STERJOVSKI +92′), 15. Storm ROUX, 17. Anthony CACERES, 20. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 28. Glen TRIFIRO (7. John HUTCHINSON +65’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Justin PASFIELD (rgk), 26. KIM Seung-yong

Coach: Phil Moss
Yellow Cards: Eddy Bosnar 90′, Zac Anderson 90’+2
Red Cards: Nil

Adelaide United FC
Player listing: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (c, gk), 3. Nigel BOOGAARD, 4. Jonathan MCKAIN, 5. Osama MALIK, 7. Jeronimo NEUMANN (11. Bruce DJITE +61’), 8. ISAIAS, 9. Sergio CIRIO, 10. Marcello CARRUSCA, 14. Cameron WATSON (17. Awer MABIL +74’) 18. Michael ZULLO, 22. Fabio FERREIRA
Substitutes not used:  20. Paul IZZO (rgk), 23. Jordan ELSEY, 32. Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS

Coach: Josep Gombau
Yellow cards: Michael Zullo 24′, Cameron Watson 65′, Isaias 79′, Carrusca 90′, McKain 90’+3
Red Cards: Nil

Ratings and points
Referee: Ben Williams 6/10
Assistants: Matthew Cream, Hakan Anaz; 4th official: Sebre Delovski

Pitch rating: 7/10 – Has been 9 but Rugby League played the night before

Game rating: 6/10

BOTN Player Points:
3. Bernie Ibini-Isei (CCM)
2. Osama Malik (AU)
1. Storm Roux (CCM)

By Chris Dunkerley

Photo: Lowenna Rappo (for BOTN)