Melbourne Victory 2 (Finkler 40’ & 78’) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Cernak 31’)
The run down:
A gallant Central Coast Mariners outfit have suffered a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory thanks to a Gui Finkler brace that cancelled out a first half goal to Isaka Cernak at AAMI Park.
The Mariners headed to Melbourne as the heavy underdogs to take on a second placed Victory but the first half showed a dominant display from the travelling side that took the lead 30 minutes in.
Brilliant build up initiated by Cernak who was helped along by John Hutchinson and Fitzgerald in the build up and it was Cernak who followed up on a firm Fitzgerald header to put the away side a goal up in the first half.
The lead was short lived despite momentum flowing in the direction of the Central Coast who were silenced in the 40th minute by a stunning Finkler strike.
The Brazilian may have topped his first effort with a winner in the 78th minute of play who took it upon himself to deliver all three points with another impeccable hit from distance that curled into the top corner leaving Reddy with little opportunity to make a save.
31’ CERNAK GOAL: A dominant first half by the Central Coast Mariners was rewarded with a goal on the half an hour mark. The attacking opportunity started with Cernak who played the ball wide to Hutchinson, the skipper curled in a dangerous ball that found a leaping Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s firm header was denied by an outstretched Coe and Cernak made no mistake with the follow up and headed home from close range to take the lead.
40’ FINKLER GOAL: The Mariners were capitalising on Cernak’s goal and as the momentum seemed to have settled with the away side for the first half it was Finkler who put his hand up to deliver for Victory. Just outside the 18 yard box with a minimal backswing, Finkler curled his effort off the inside of the upright to level the scores and leave Reddy with little to do just before the break.
78’ FINKLER GOAL: A staggered build up from Melbourne Victory ultimately resulted in Finkler’s and Victory’s second goal of the night. Thompson found possession in the box who played into Makarounas who had his back to goal, he played back to Finkler who curled a shot first time into the top corner, again leaving Reddy with little to do to prevent the goal.
8’ BEN KHALFALLAH RUN: Fahid Ben Khalfallah Steamed into the box after beating four Mariners defenders to drive a solid strike, fortunately for the yellow and navy his shot belted wide into the side netting. ‘FBK’ as he is affectionately known created havoc in the first half with dangerous and direct runs into the area.
23’ ROSE COUNTER: The 150 game veteran turned back the clock with a breaking run down the left hand side. His run was finished with a precision cross that was cleared away by Coe.
30’ FERREIRA RUN: Ferreira ran onto the end of a pin point Caceres ball that was played in from 40 yards out, the Portuguese Flyer found himself one on one with the keeper who failed to tap around the 50-50 opportunity against Coe.
34’ HUTCHINSON SHOT: The skipper had a shot from distance, his strike was firm but Coe was up to the challenge. Hutchinson also tried his luck from distance just before the break that swerved just wide of the upright.
60’ THOMPSON CROSS: Archie Thompson made a breaking run down the right hand side and played a low and hard cross into the area. His accuracy was on song but a charging Berisha could not get into position in time.
65’ BROXHAM STRIKE: A match littered with solid strikes from distance, Broxham was the next to buy a ticket, his flat, powerful strike from 25 yards out found the bread basket of Reddy who had no trouble making the save.
80’ CACERES CHANCE: There was some mayhem in the Melbourne Victory box that resulted in a great opportunity for Anthony Caceres. He struck a shot first time that was destined to slide into the bottom corner but a Victory defender blocked his shot.
“Two weeks ago we played Adelaide with the same sort of intent and we couldn’t sustain it for as long as we did tonight.”
“I thought the boys executed the plan as well as they could under difficult circumstances.”
“We knew that their front four were going to be dangerous, on any given night any one of those players between Archie, Khalfallah, Berisha can all pop up with a goal and a bit of class. Tonight with Finkler, two shots on target out of Reddy’s reach.”
“Our intent tonight was to play higher up the pitch and really try and cut off as much supply to those guys and I think we did a pretty good job.”
“We are off to Brisbane with a shortish turn around to take on Brisbane on Thursday night.”
“We’ve put a peg in the ground in how we’re going to approach games and I think Brisbane will give us another opportunity to try and execute again and hopefully come away with a result that the boys deserve.”
Melbourne Victory 2
Central Coast Mariners 1
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Attendance: 18 205
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Central Coast Mariners: 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES (18.Glen TRIFIRO 83’), 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 23.Isaka CERNAK, 26.Fabio FERREIRA (20.Anthony KALIK 90’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Matthew NASH (gk), 15. Matthew SIM, 16.Liam ROSE
Yellow cards: Montgomery 21’, Anderson 51’, Cernak 81’, Hutchinson 92’
Melbourne Victory: 1.Nathan COE (GK), 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA (13.Andrew NABBOUT 89’), 10.Archie THOMPSON (35.George HOWARD 83’), 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16.Rashid MAHAZI (22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS 69’), 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 21.Carl VALERI
Substitutes not used: 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 34.Thomas DENG
Yellow cards: Broxham 20’