MX23RW : Friday, July 30 01:28:16| >> :600:4190558:4190558:
Mar 22, 2021 at 8.05am UK at AAMI Park
Melbourne CityMelbourne City
Central CoastCentral Coast Mariners
MacLaren (31'), Atkinson (56')
Metcalfe (45'), Luna (49')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Bozanic (42'), Tongyik (52'), Stajcic (85')

Preview: Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's A-League clash between Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Central Coast Mariners will be looking to strengthen their position at the top of the Australian A-League table on Monday when they travel to the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium to take on Melbourne City.

With a game in hand on second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers, the Mariners have a chance to stretch their lead back to six points at the summit of the table, while the visitors have built an impressive four-game league winning run.

Match preview

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

Melbourne City picked up an impressive victory last time out, beating Macarthur 3-0 thanks to a Jamie Maclaren brace and a Craig Noone goal.

That followed an eye-catching 6-0 win over rivals Melbourne Victory, as Maclaren, Florin Berenguer, Rostyn Griffiths and Stefan Colakovski all netted goals alongside a Connor Metcalfe brace.

Patrick Kisnorbo's men have now put together a run of four consecutive A-League victories, seeing them rise up to fifth spot after a slow start to the season.

With a game in hand on fourth-placed Adelaide United and three games in hand on Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur in second and third spots respectively, Kisnorbo's side have a chance to quickly move to the top end of the table, with a win on Monday hugely boosting that bid.

That would see them go just four points behind their opponents, while keeping two games in hand on the Mariners, meaning they could go top of the league if they convert those games to victories.

However, that will not be a straightforward task, as they welcome a side who have raced to the top of the A-League table thanks to an impressive start to the season.

Central Coast Mariners' league position is largely due to their clinical attack, with no side in the A-League matching their 22 goals from 12 games so far this campaign.

The Mariners picked up a point in their last league outing, drawing 2-2 at home to Perth Glory.

They looked set to fall to a defeat, until Matt Simon converted a 90th-minute penalty to snatch a point for his side.

That stopped Alen Stajcic's side from building a winning run in the league, after they had previously defeated Perth Glory and Macarthur consecutively.

The Mariners will be looking to return to winning ways here, in order to move back away from the sides in pursuit of the top spot, including Monday's opponents who are quickly gaining momentum.

Melbourne City Australian A-League form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Central Coast Mariners Australian A-League form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Melbourne City will remain without midfielder Aiden O'Neill, who has been absent since the second game of the season with a back injury.

He is joined on the sidelines by Adrian Luna, who has missed the last three games having netted two goals in his six league appearances from midfield so far this campaign.

Jamie Maclaren will lead the line with plenty of confidence in this game, having scored seven goals in his last four league games, taking his tally to 10 goals for the season as well as four assists.

He will be supported in attack by Andrew Nabbout, who has been Melbourne's creative hub in his five games since joining from Melbourne Victory, registering three assists.

Central Coast Mariners' only absentee should be centre-back Lewis Miller, who remains out of the squad with an illness.

Matt Simon will lead the line for Stajcic's side, having netted six league goals so far this campaign.

Alou Kuol will be pushing for a starting spot alongside Simon for this game, having netted six goals this season from just four starts and six appearances off the bench.

However, he will face competition from Marco Urena, who netted the opening goal in the draw with Perth Glory last time out.

Melbourne City possible starting lineup:
Glover; Atkinson, Reis, Good, Jamieson; Metcalfe, Griffiths, Berenguer; Noone, Maclaren, Nabbout

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

SM words green background

We say: Melbourne City 2-1 Central Coast Mariners

Despite the visitors sitting at the top of the league table, we see the growing momentum of Melbourne City carrying them to a fifth straight victory on Monday.

Given their games in hand, the Melbourne outfit will have the top spot in their sights, with a win on Monday giving them an advantage over the Mariners, provided they can convert those extra games into victories.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

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