Central Coast Edges out Sydney to Move on to the Grand Final

22/05/2024
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Treble still in play for Central Coast after Semi-Final Win

Central Coast has just Melbourne standing in their way of the treble after ousting Sydney in the semi-finals

News Insights

  • Central Coast takes care of undisciplined Sydney side.
  • Mariners looking to complete the treble.
  • Three red cards in two matches effectively ended Sydney’s season.
  • Disallowed goal a point of contention.

Central Coast and Sydney put together a classic two-leg semi-final as there were goals, clean sheets, red cards, and disallowed goals in play over two matches. In the end, it was Central Coast who came out victorious, as they now head to the Grand Final against Melbourne.  

Central Coast Takes Down Undermanned Sydney in First Leg 

The first leg between Central Coast and Sydney was one of the more intriguing football matches fans will ever be treated to with goals, send offs, and controversial refereeing decisions alike.  
 
Sydney was the home side for the opening leg and after fending off an initial onslaught from Central Coast, gave their fans something to cheer about with the matches first goal.  
 
It was 20th minute injury replacement Max Burgess with the instant impact.  
 
He got the ball on the right side, dribbled his way into the 18-yard box and cut to the middle, blasting a shot that was blocked, but bounced right to the feet of Joel King, who sent it into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.  
 
The action remained in large part in the middle of the pitch over the next 20 minutes, until a hectic final few minutes of the half saw the Mariners tie the match.  
 
Just moments after Burgess missed a glorious opportunity to double Sydney’s lead, Joshua Nisbet found the equalizer. A Mikael Doka long range shot was fumbled by Sydney keeper Andrew Redmayne, allowing Nisbet to pounce on the loose ball and tap it in. 
 
Less than ten minutes into the second half Central Coast struck again to take the lead. Christian Theoharous was taken down in the box and the Mariners were awarded a penalty.  
 
Doka stepped up to the spot and calmly tucked the ball in the right corner to go up 2-1.  
 
Then came the card trouble for Sydney. In the 63rd minute, a Jack Rodwell yellow card was reviewed pitchside and upgraded to a red, sending them to 10 men.  
 
The 82nd minute then produced another red for Sydney as Corey Hollman got his forearm up in the face of Ronald Barcellos, which warranted his second yellow of the match.  
 
Down to nine men, Sydney was unable to make a final push and lost 2-1.  

Second Leg Controversially Ends Scoreless 

The second leg was dominated by Sydney. They held 71% of possession and had 16 shots to just four for Central Coast.  
 
They struggled to find the final ball to break the line of Central Coast however and when they did, had trouble putting the ball on goal.  
 
As such, though they controlled the first half, the two sides were level at zero heading into the locker rooms.  
 
After half, in the 64th minute, it appeared as though Sydney found the go-ahead goal and as such, pulled level on aggregate.  
 
A turnover by Central Coast’s backline led to Fabio Gomes picking up the ball and playing it to Robert Mak, who sent the ball towards the net and seemingly over the line when it was kicked out by Brian Kaltak.  
 
When the referee went to check if the ball crossed the line, he came back with a decision of no-goal due to Gomes being offside in the build-up, a call that many disagreed with.  
 
Nonetheless, that was as close as Sydney would get as the match ended 0-0 and Central Coast advanced 2-1 on aggregate.  

Treble just a Match away for Central Coast 

With the victory, Central Coast are now just one win away from history.   
 
Having already won the Premier’s Plate and just recently becoming the first Australian side to win the AFC Cup, a victory over Melbourne in the Grand Final would see them complete the treble.  

Central Coast has two trophies under their belts and will now have a chance at a third following their defeat of Sydney FC, 2-1 on aggregate. The Mariners will match up with the Melbourne Victory on Saturday in the Grand Final with the treble on the line for Central Coast. 

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