Matt Simon scored in his second straight game as Central Coast Mariners again won 2-0 in a Menpora Cup game in Bandung, Indonesia. Sunday's opponent was Malaysia's U23 side which proved no match for the A-League championship holders. The victory sets up a crucial third game against Group A hosts Persib Bandung, the winner of which will go on the to final.
Simon's opener came from a swift combination of a Mitchell Duke cross from the left which was headed back across goal by Nick Fitzgerland. Simon slipped past his defender and headed in the Mariners' first and his second of the tournament. Duke closed the game out with a quick turn and rifled shot into the bottom right corner in injury time, propelling Central Coast to the top of its group.
Graham Arnold, speaking after the game, said:
"It's another good hit out. We totally dominated the game - I don't think Liam Reddy had a save to make. But he swept the back line pretty well and overall I was quite pleased with the effort.
"This whole tournament and trip is about ourselves and I am seeing a lot of positive signs from what we're doing. Our defense is strong, two clean sheets, we've pretty much limited both oppositions to one or two shots over the two games, and we're creating plenty of chances."
Should the Mariners beat or draw Persib on Tuesday, a game which is expected to draw 40,000 spectators and feature former Adelaide United forward Sergio van Dijk, a date in the Menpora Cup final would be scheduled for Sunday September 29 in Malang. The winner of Group A will likely face either Persepam Madura United or Arema FC in the championship game. If the Mariners lose on Tuesday, they will return to Australia later in the week.
CCM Simon (Fitzgerald) 42'
CCM Duke 90'
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Seip (Sainsbury 67'), Anderson, Griffiths (Rose 77'), Morton; Hutchinson (Montgomery 77'), McGlinchey, Caceres, Fitzgerald (Slater 57'); Duke, Simon (Sterjovski)
Unused subs: Pasfield, Flores, Roux