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Mariners stun Brisbane seal third

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The Central Coast Mariners wrapped up third spot in the A-League and have taken some impressive momentum through to the finals as they managed a 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.

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With nothing on the line for Brisbane they looked dull and uninspired, despite fielding an impressively strong side ahead of the finals.

As is typical, Brisbane dominated the possession but they couldn’t break through a stern Mariners defense who looked incredibly fit as they attacked the Roar, using their speed to break down the Brisbane defense.

It was the Mariners who had the first chance as Eddy Bosnar hit another impressive long range free-kick, forcing Michael Theo in to a desperate save to keep the Mariners out.

Matt Smith very nearly caught Liam Reddy out, in a similar style to Orlando Engelaar’s goal last month, the Mariners’ goalkeeper was off his line and Smith went to chip him from just past halfway but Reddy scrambled back and blocked the shot to keep it scoreless.

In the 24th minute a Mariners’ counter produced the opening goal of the match, as some quick passing allowed Bernie Ibini to play Storm Roux behind the defense, that allowed the young kiwi to cut the ball back for Nick Fitzgerald who was able to send the ball home easily.

Brisbane Roar could well have equalized quickly afterward as Thomas Broich ran in to the penalty area and then cut back for Besart Berisha but Berisha sent his effort wide.

Brisbane were made to pay for that error as Anthony Caceres was able to make it two as he hit a powerful effort from the edge of the area that left Theo with no chance.

Ibini could well have made it three before the break as he used his speed to beat Jade North to the ball and shoot at goal but was denied as Theo came out and smothered the ball.

Right before half time Roar had a great opportunity as Luke Brattan and Matt McKay exchanged passes, and set up Dimitri Petratos at the far post but he could only find the woodwork, keeping it 2-0 at the break.

Less than one minute in to the second half the Mariners could have sealed the match as the ball fell to Fitzgerald but he hit the ball poorly, sending it over the bar.

Ibini, continued to look dangerous for the Mariners and set Fitzgerald free but he was brought down outside the box, allowing Ibini to step up for the free-kick, only to send it right at Theo.

After the hour mark Brisbane started to resume control and Broich was able to find space and shoot, forcing a save out of Reddy that spilled to Berisha who tapped the ball home, only for the offside flag to deny the Albanian.

Despite that the Mariners had a solid opportunity late on as Mitchell Duke was able to backheel to Fitzgerald who could only find the side netting. That missed chance mattered little though, as the Mariners cruised to the 2-0 victory.

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