Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United will meet in Round 3 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday October 26 at 5:30pm AEDT.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Roux, Sainsbury, Anderson, Rose
Montogomery, Hutchinson, Fitzgerald,
Flores, Duke, Sterjovski
Bowles, Malik, McKain, Zullo
Carrusca, Lustica, VidosicFerreira, Neumann, Cirio
Played: 25, Wins: Central Coast 13, Adelaide 6, Draws: 6
Adelaide 0-2 Central Coast, March 24, 2013
Past five matches (including pre-season):
Adelaide will be boosted by the returns of Spanish recruit Isaias Sanchez and central-defender Nigel Boogaard from suspensions incurred in their season-opening win over Perth Glory. Both are valuable inclusions for the Reds, who could not keep a clean sheet against the Melbourne Victory last time out - buckling late by shipping two goals in the final 11 minutes. Marcelo Carrusca (groin) and Daniel Bowles (ankle) will likely make way for the pair.
Both the Mariners and Adelaide benefitted from poor penalty calls last time out, and capitalised with a second goal moments later in their respective 2-2 draws with Melbourne Heart and Victory. Both sides have attacking set-ups capable of scoring goals from free play, but we're yet to see many chances converted from either side 180 minutes into the campaign.
The big issue:
Central Coast - regaining their mojo. The Mariners were not their usual selves last weekend, and only avoided losing to the Melbourne Heart for what would have been the second time in 10 due to some dubious referee calls. Graham Arnold's men need to get back on the bike quickly, or risk dropping more points at home like they did in their season-opener at Gosford against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Adelaide - silencing a former ally. Marcos Flores took on the Reds in a blue shirt last season, and now will do so for the first time in a yellow and blue top. He will be confident after tucking away both of the Mariners' penalties on Saturday, but will have to carry an extra load in midfield minus injured attacker Carrusca.
The game breaker:
Jeronimo Neumann - simply put, he is in hot goal-scoring form with three in two matches to lead the league's golden boot race. He has been the beneficiary of a strong attacking outfit under Josep Gombau, and can break his Gosford duck in what will be his third visit there.
Prediction: Central Coast 1-1 Adelaide
Central Coast have had Adelaide in their back pocket in recent times - winning their past eight head-to-head clashes, and being unbeaten in 11 against the Reds - with Adelaide's last success over the Gosford-based club coming in September 2009. But with a new coach in at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide have looked far more dangerous in attack and should snap their run of outs against the A-League champions.