Central Coast Mariners are headed back to the A-League semifinal round after a 1-0 defeat of Adelaide United on Saturday night in Gosford. The Elimination Final at Central Coast Stadium was decided by Bernie Ibini's 67th minute goal and sends the Mariners into a championship rematch with Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Mariners were threatening with Mitchell Duke forcing a nice save from Eugene Galekovic but it was Ibini's quality strike, after a combination also involving Duke and Anthony Caceras, that delivered victory for the home side. Though Adelaide created opportunities late in the game, Josep Gombau's Reds just could not find the equalizer. As it turns out, dropping from fourth place to sixth made all the difference for Adelaide over the season's final weekend.
Before Central Coast travel to Western Sydney for the weekend's semifinal, the Mariners fly to Japan to play Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Match Day 6 of the Champions League. Currently in second place in Group F, thanks to the head-to-head record tie-breaker, the Mariners can guarantee advancement with a win. A draw in Hiroshima could also lead to another trip to the Round of 16, depending on the result of the FC Seoul-Beijing Guoan match.
CCM Ibini (Duke) 67'
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Rose, Bosnar, Anderson, Roux; Montgomery, Caceras; Fitzgerald (Sterjovski 92'), Trifiro (Hutchinson 65'), Ibini; Duke (Simon 82')
Unused substitutes: Pasfield, Kim
Adelaide United: Galekovic; Zullo, Boogaard, McKain, Malik; Isaias, Carrusca, Watson (Mabil 74'); Jeronimo (Djite 61'), Cirio, Ferreira
Unused substitutes: Izzo, Elsey, Konstandopoulos