Marcos Flores leads Central Coast Mariners to Menpora Cup final

Sergio van Dijk and Marcos Flores in 2011 - Matt King

Two goals and two yellow cards from the always interesting Marcos Flores were enough to get the Mariners into the final of the tournament in Indonesia.

Marcos Flores scored twice in the first half to bring Central Coast Mariners back from an early deficit before getting sent off in a 3-3 draw with Persib Bandung at the Stadion Si Jalak Harupat in the Menpora Cup. The Mariners entered the match knowing they needed only a draw to advance. The A-League championship holders survived an incredible goal by Mbida Messi as Flores got the better of his former Adelaide Untied teammate Sergio van Dijk, who now plays for Persib. Central Coast will now wait to see which club emerges from Group B with the Menpora Cup final scheduled for September 29 in Malang at the Stadion Kanjuruhan.

Nick Fitzgerald opened scoring in the third minute but Persib were quick to answer with Kenji Adachihara finishing after the Mariners could not clear a Hilton Moirera free kick in the seventh minute. Messi then scored his half-field goal, lofting the ball easily over Justin Pasfield in the 13th minute.

Five minutes later, Flores pulled the Mariners level with long distance shot, having dribbled through several Persib defenders. After a frantic opening twenty minutes, the match settled somewhat before Storm Roux set up Flores for his second in the 38th minute. The Mariners' new signing kept his name in the breaking news feeds, picking up two second half yellow cards, the second of which came in the 83rd minute when he pulled Messi down from behind. Flores is expected to miss the final.

Late in the game, Persib nearly got an equalizer when Hariono hit the post in the 87th minute. That equalizer finally came in injury time when Moirera scored on the last kick of the game. The 92nd minute goal pulled the score to an even 3-3 but a draw was always enough to send the Mariners to Malang for the final.

UPDATE - Full game highlights, complements of a Mariners press release:

Scoring:

CCM Fitzgerald 3'

PB Adachihara 7'

PB Messi 13'

CCM Flores 18'

CCM Flores (Roux) 38'

PB Moirera 92'

Line-ups:

Central Coast Mariners: Pasfield; Rose, Anderson (Seip 60'), Sainsbury, Roux (Morton 82'); Hutchinson, Montgomery (Caceres 87'); Sterjovski, Flores, Fitzgerald; Duke (McGlinchey 73')

Unused subs: Reddy, Griffiths, Simon, Slater

Persib Bandung: Cecep; Aang (Abdurahman 62'), Herman, Pribadi (Sukmara 75'), Sucipto; Hariono, Messi, Atep (Utina 75'); Moirera, Adachihara (Airlangga 80'), van Dijk (Hermawan 73')

Unused subs: Permana, Akbar

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