31 December 2019
Central Coast Mariners will have a chance to post their second successive A-League win over Perth Glory for the first time since 2017 when the two sides lock horns at the Central Coast Stadium this week.
Although the hosts have halted a two-game losing run with a 2-1 home win over Adelaide United, their defensive problems have been exposed once again. The Mariners have now failed to keep a blank sheet in all but one of their nine league fixtures so far this season, allowing over 1.5 match goals on four of those occasions. Alen Stajcic’s men have also failed to impress in the final third, scoring one goal or less in seven league outings this term. In fact, no team has netted fewer goals than Central Coast (9). But the Mariners have been particularly dangerous in the first half, as 78% of their total goals scored has come before the halftime break. By extension, four of five home goals they’ve scored so far have arrived in the first half, with three of them coming inside the opening seven minutes of play.
Meanwhile, the visitors have overseen an upturn in form recently, having gone from four consecutive league games without a win (D1, L3) to three straight victories. Notably, all of those triumphs have come via a multiple-goal margin and witnessed the reigning champions win both halves. Even though they’ve kept a clean sheet only once in five A-League road trips so far, Tony Popovic’s men have restricted their rivals to a maximum of one goal per match in the other four. The clean-sheet theme seems to be out of the picture here too, as the Glory have failed to shut Central Coast out in six of their last seven away H2Hs, conceding two or more goals on three of those occasions. Breaking the deadlock could prove crucial for Glory’s hopes to seal all three points here, as they’ve won both of their A-League road matches that have seen them open the scoring.
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