With both sides adopting a philosophy of all out attack; tonight’s encounter between the Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City at Central Coast Stadium is set to be a thrilling affair. Kick-off is 8pm.
The last match between these two sides in Round 3 produced plenty of fireworks, including a ballistic goal from Nick Fitzgerald, but the Mariners will be desperate to prove themselves with a result under the Thursday night spotlight.
The Run In
In the team performance of the weekend, a free wheeling Melbourne City had five individual goal scorers in their 5-1 destruction of Perth Glory.
At the heart of it all was Socceroo Aaron Mooy, who had a hand in three of those goals and decided to join the fun himself with City’s fifth in the last ten minutes.
For the Mariners, this match is a golden opportunity to close the gap with the sixth placed City, who sit six points above.
Facing a short turnaround, a positive result could close that gap to three and ensure the Yellow and Navy keep up with the pace a third of the way into the season.
The Mariners are coming off a 2-0 loss last weekend to the Western Sydney Wanderers, failing to score for the first time this season.
Who to watch
The name on everyone’s lips this week has been City midfielder Aaron Mooy and he is likely to be front and centre in Tony Walmsley’s plans to nullify the Melbourne attack.
The playmaker’s technical skill and versatility has been key for City this season, with Mooy setting up five goals as well as scoring three of his own.
Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli has also been a class import and joint leads the league in scoring with six – two of which came against the Mariners in Round 3.
On the Mariners front, Mitch Austin will return to the fray and will boost the Mariners attacking options after being locked down on the wings by the Wanderers last weekend.
Captain Nick Montgomery will miss through suspension, with Josh Rose to take the armband in his absence.
The Key Questions
- With two attack-oriented sides, how many goals will we see tonight?
- Can Mooy turn it on tonight or will the Mariners lock down the midfielder?
- Will City be able to overcome their poor history at Central Coast Stadium?
- Despite finishing in the top 6, Melbourne City lost both their games at Central Coast Stadium last season.
- The Mariners have won 10 of the 16 encounters between the two sides and have never lost to City/Heart at Central Coast Stadium.
“To wear the armband and lead the team out is going to be massive, I think Monty’s (Nick Montgomery) going to be a massive loss for us, but hopefully we can cover that and get the result.
“Mitch (Austin) has been fantastic, he’s caused a lot of problems down that left wing and it’s great to have him back, it’ll be a good boost for the boys… it’s always a pleasure to have someone like Mitch in front of you.”
“Last time it was a really end-to-end game, we created an equal number of chances, we probably slightly edged it but they finished theirs, we didn’t finish ours.
“We need to tighten up our defence, we need to be well aware of Aaron Mooy’s threat, he runs the game for them. He’s very good, Fornaroli’s good, Novillo’s good.
“It was our worst performance against the Wanderers and they were the best team we’ve played so far… we’re going to be up against the same again, but we need to be better.
“We’ve picked a squad, we’ve got Mitch Austin back, we’ve picked a structure to make sure Caceres does his best work higher up the pitch and we’ve lost Montgomery so we have to cover that, so we’re going to be up against a formidable opponent and relishing the challenge.
“We’ve got to remember Melbourne City don’t travel the best historically, they don’t do very well here historically so there’s no reason that needn’t continue.
“We’re hoping to get our second home win of the season, which will send us to Perth in a really buoyant frame of mind.
Last time we met – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 3, MCY 3 CCM 1, AAMI Park
This match produced a combined 36 shots between both sides, with Melbourne City shading the Mariners 3-1. A thunderous goal from Nick Fitzgerald excited the away contingent at AAMI Park, but a Bruno Fornaroli double and a goal to Patrick Kisnorbo ensured a solid win at home for City.