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|SoccerAnchor's A-League Finals Preview: Week 3|
Brisbane may have secured their spot in the A-League Grand Final, but the battle for the other spot in the match that is up for grabs, as Premiers' Plate winners Central Coast Mariners host surging Perth Glory this weekend...
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Central Coast Mariners - Perth Glory
Central Coast fought valiantly, but allowed Brisbane Roar to claim a 3-2 victory at Bluetongue Stadium last week. The Mariners did manage to equalise proceedings after letting the Roar take a 2-0 lead after only 26 minutes. But captain Patrick Zwaanswijk and striker Adam Kwasnik scored, giving the Yellow and Navy faithful some hope of coming back in the tie. Unfortunately, Henrique sealed the win and the tie on 67 minutes. Form goes against the Mariners, as they have only won three of their last 11. Having said this, CCM do have the wood over their opposition, having beaten them 2-1 the last time they met in Gosford.
One stat that does go in the favour of Perth is that the Glory claimed a 1-0 win the last time the sides only a month ago. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan lost his way in the WA sun, and dropped a high ball, allowing Travis Dodd to capitalise. Todd Howarth also took advantage of some less-than-careful Wellington defending as he struck home the winner in extra-time last week. Bas van den Brink and Billy also scored in the match. On the road, the Glory have not had they best track record, losing twice out of their last three times. If you go further back, Ian Ferguson's men have only droppeda further two points away from nib Stadium this year.
Can the defensive back four of the Central Coast Mariners keep Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet at bay? Will Mustafa Amini and Tomas Rogic run loose, or will Steven McGarry and Liam Miller pull the strings in midfield for Perth? The Glory have only won once in their history at Bluetongue Stadium, and that was in a pre-season match in 2007. The sides have never met in a finals campaign.
Throw the history books out the window, and expect an exciting match ahead.
Prediction: Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Perth Glory