MX23RW : Monday, September 27 10:37:53| >> :600:9321135:9321135:
Jan 31, 2021 at 5.05am UK at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Central CoastCentral Coast Mariners
1-2
WellingtonWellington Phoenix
Kuol (41')
Kuol (12')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Davila (15'), Sotirio (88')
Davila (74')

Preview: Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Australian A-League clash between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Top takes on bottom in the Australian A-League on Sunday morning as the Central Coast Mariners entertain Wellington Phoenix.

The hosts have made a blistering start to the new campaign, winning three of their four opening matches to go top of the table, while the New Zealand outfit are currently occupying 12th position.


Match preview

Alen Stajcic, now in charge of Central Coast Mariners, pictured in 2019© Reuters

Their early-season form represents quite the turnaround for the Mariners, who finished at the foot of the top-flight table in 2019-20.

Head coach Alen Stajcic oversaw a major overhaul of his first-team squad in the summer, bringing in six new faces to the club, alongside the promotion of six youngsters from the club's youth system.

The new arrivals offset 11 departures as the Central Coast Stadium outfit outlined their intentions over the off-season.

Stajcic's men kicked off the 2020-21 campaign with back-to-back victories over Newcastle Jets and Macarthur before the Western Sydney Wanderers inflicted their first defeat of the season.

However, a 2-0 win over the reigning champions Sydney FC last time out will have restored their confidence and belief coming into this one, and means the Mariners have kept three clean sheets in their four outings so far this season.

Wellington Phoenix enjoyed a very successful 2019-20 season, finishing third in the A-League standings.

Their start to 2020-21 has been far less encouraging, though, with Ufuk Talay's men yet to pick up their first win of the campaign.

An opening day defeat to Sydney FC was followed up by a draw to Macarthur and another defeat at the hands of Newcastle Jets, leaving the Phoenix marooned at the bottom of the table with just a single point to their name.

Getting off the foot of the table and securing their first win of the season as soon as possible will be a priority for Talay, although doing so on Sunday will be an extremely tough ask.

Central Coast Mariners Australian A-League form: WWLW

Wellington Phoenix Australian A-League form: LDL


Team News

Stajcic has no injury concerns throughout his squad, meaning he has the luxury of being able to select his best XI for this one.

Nineteen-year-old striker Alou Kuol will be hoping he has done enough to earn a recall to the starting lineup after coming off the bench and scoring last time out.

Winger Reno Piscopo has picked up a calf injury and is unavailable for Wellington over the weekend.

Central midfielder Alex Rufer has served his one-match suspension for a red card received against Macarthur and is available for selection once again.

Central Coast Mariners possible starting lineup:
Birighitti; Nigro, Tongyik, Rowles, Clisby; Nisbet, Bozanic, Stensness, De Silva; Urena, Smylie

Wellington Phoenix possible starting lineup:
Marinovic; McGarry, Laws, DeVere, Payne; Lewis, Devlin, Ridenton, Davila; Hemed, Ball


SM words green background

We say: Central Coast Mariners 2-0 Wellington Phoenix

These are two teams in contrasting form at this moment in time, and we think the result will reflect that. Wellington are currently enduring a sticky patch, and coming up against the league leaders may be too big a task for them.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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