Alessandro Del Piero has scored in three straight matches for Sydney FC. Image courtesy of fifa.com/Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Graham Arnold’s Central Coast Mariners are unlikely to ever be considered the most entertaining team in the A-League, but they are going through somewhat of a goal drought currently. For a team that scored the equal second most goals in the competition last season, a return of three goals from four starts is a surprisingly low number.
With Alessandro Del Piero in the sky blue, Sydney FC , on the other hand, is the league’s star attraction. They’re having the odd problem in front of goal, as well, though. Del Piero has fired in goals in three successive games, but one of those was from a free kick, while the other two have been from the penalty spot . It means his team has managed just two goals in open play in its first four fixtures.
Regardless, both teams are in the top half of the table and come in to this match on the back of last start wins; the Mariners over Melbourne Heart, while Sydney FC came from behind to beat Perth. Central Coast had the better of the three derby matches last season, winning two and drawing one, although the teams did share the points in the solitary clash in Gosford. In fact, Sydney FC has taken just three points from the last six encounters from three draws .
The Mariners have conceded in just one game this season, but that was against Newcastle which has the A-League’s other star signing, Emile Heskey. Mat Ryan, who was named the A-League’s best goalkeeper last season, has been almost impassable this campaign. The 20-year-old trialled with Tottenham and West Bromwich Albion over the winter, and he has lifted his game to another level, as shown by his three clean sheets . Both of Central Coast’s wins have been 1-0 scorelines .
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