Steve Corica’s Sydney FC will have to wait for their first win of the season, as the Central Coast Mariners took all three points in their first home win against the Sky Blues in four years.
An early blitz of constant attacking pressure in the first 20 minutes was enough for the Mariners to take the game out of the reach of the visitors.
Marcos Urena was able to convert with a clinical first-time finish when put one-on-one with Andrew Redmayne, and within a couple of minutes, Moresche’s pressure on Anthony Caceres forced the former Mariners player turn the ball into his own net from close range.
Sydney were outplayed for much of the first half, but Adam Le Fondre remained a threat for the 2019/2020 champions.
First, he struck the base of the post midway through the half, with ball trickling agonisingly across the face of goal before being scrambled away, before forcing Mark Birighitti into a good save low to his left on the stroke of half time.
With Milos Ninkovic and Le Fondre departing early in an effort to preserve their fitness, Sydney failed to create any clear-cut opportunities in second half, with the Mariners happy to sit on the edge of their own penalty area and withstand any pressure.
MARINERS STRIKE PARTNERSHIP IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE
Urena and Moresche proved how deadly a combination they could be together, tearing the Sydney defence apart with ease in the first-half.
Moresche spotted the run of Urena for the first goal and slid the ball through to the Costa Rican international with an inch perfect through ball, leaving him just with the task of coolly slotting the ball past Redmayne.
Despite having a big hand in both goals today, Moresche is yet to get off the mark in the A-League Men for the Mariners, but his technique on the ball and runs off it create chances for his strike partner and the rest of his team.
LUKE BRATTAN’S ABSENCE LEAVES SYDNEY VULNERABLE
Without the presence of Brattan, the Mariners were able to drive at the Sydney defence at will and under little pressure in transition.
The 31-year-old midfielder tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Sydney’s round-of-32 FFA Cup win in November, and his importance to his side has been highlighted in his absence.
Paulo Retre has been instructed to fill the void Brattan has left, but he’s so far failed to be anywhere near as effective as his side-lined teammate, being caught too far up the field when the Mariners raced goalward on counter attacks.
Retre also lacks the calmness on the ball and passing range of Brattan, leaving Sydney heavily reliant on their forwards’ direct running to create their own chances, rather than being able to stroke the ball across the park and patiently find space to create opportunities.
THE PRESSURE IS ON CORICA TO TURN THINGS AROUND QUICKLY
Winless after four games and having to nurse his key players from game to game, Corica is in a bit of a hole as Sydney FC’s dismal start to the season continued.
After a rather lacklustre transfer window, the Sky Blues’ lack of strength in depth has been exposed, and a refusal to vary playing style has Corica putting square pegs in round holes in an effort to return to his previous winning formula.
After a dynasty of success, it looks like Sydney require a complete rebuild with ageing star players unable to be relied upon to produce the same untouchable form on a regular basis.
A-League Men Round Four, Central Coast Stadium
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Urena 13m, Caceres O.G 15m)
Sydney FC 0
Image Source: Central Coast Mariners