These two teams meet again at the business end of the competition, only this year it is not for silverware.
The Wanderers come into this match on the back of their ACL demolition job against Chinese club Guizhou Renhe. The Wanderers put five past their hapless opponents, who only bothered to bring three substitutes, to Australia.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic, had this to say post match, “I have been saying for a while now, the goals will come”.
While on the other hand, the Mariners have to deal with their deflating exist from the ACL. Conceding in the last 20 minutes, which handed their opponents, Sanfrecce Hiroshima qualification into the final 16.
There has been plenty of controversy surrounding this fixture without a ball being kicked. The match is scheduled the day after the Mariners arrive back in Australia.
In contrast, the Wanderers have a 4-day turnaround and played their final ACL match at home. This should be a massive advantage for the team from Western Sydney.
With the final whistle still ringing around Parramatta stadium the Wanderers players had already turned their attention to this important fixture.
Wanderers captain Michael Beauchamp, “The boys were talking about it, in the dressing room” he said.
“We got one game to play until, we get into another grand final”
“That in itself is a great achievement,” he said.
Both coaches decided to rest key players, in their final ACL matches. Ono, Hersi and Polenz, were all left out of the starting line-up, while the Mariners started with Rose, Duke and Ibini, on the bench.
Covic has kept a record 9 cleansheets in the competition, the onus will be on the Wanderers’ attack, to find a way to improve their shots/goal percentage, which is a league low at 10.7%.
Look out for Tomi Juric who has scored 2 goals in his last 3 appearances against the Central Coast team. While Joshua Rose always enjoys playing the Wanderers, scoring in their last encounter at Gosford stadium.
With the momentum of topping their ACL group, and the Mariners extremely short turnaround, it is hard to go past the Wanderers, for the win.
You can listen to the full interview with the Western Sydney Wanderers captain Michael Beauchamp below: