Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners Prediction: Third time lucky for CCM?

 | 9th May | 

4 mins read

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Sydney FC host Central Coast Mariners in the first leg of their A-League Men's semi-final tie at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday (10;45, TNT Sports 4), with the Sky Blues looking to take a lead into next week's return fixture in Gosford.

Read below for my Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners prediction, where you can also find all the latest team news and match odds.

Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners Betting Tips

  • Draw or Central Coast Mariners & both teams to score @ 8/5
  • Robert Mak anytime goalscorer @ 15/8

Sydney FC finished fourth in the regular A-League Men's season to set up a home Elimination Final against Macarthur FC, whom they thrashed 4-0 last Saturday to book their berth in the semi-finals.

Central Coast Mariners clinched their first A-League Premiers Plate with a 2-0 victory over Adelaide United on May 1, and went on to lift their first-ever AFC Cup with a 1-0 win over Lebanese side Al-Ahed in Muscat, Oman four days later.

Despite their success this season, however, the Mariners have had a constant thorn in their side - Sydney FC. Mark Jackson's side have failed to beat the Sky Blues in all three meetings this term, starting off their 2023/24 campaign at the Sydney Football Stadium with a penalty shoot-out defeat in the Australia Cup round of 32.

Sydney FC then won the first league meeting between the pair 3-1 at the Central Coast Stadium on February 10 before winning the reverse fixture 2-0 on March 30.

Team News

Sydney FC star Joe Lolley scored a sensational second goal for his side in last week's win but was forced from the field just minutes later with a hamstring injury that has curtailed his campaign.

With Lolley out, Matthe Scarcella, Mitch Glasson and Wataru Kamijo have been included in the extended squad for the first leg, but a more realistic replacement in the starting XI is Jaiden Kucharski, who replaced the Englishman against Macarthur and scored within 15 minutes of his introduction, or Max Burgess, who was a half-time substitute in the same game for Corey Hollman.

Nathan Amanatidis and Gus Hoefsloot remain injured, but despite hobbling off during the latter stages against the Bulls, Luke Brattan has been included in the squad and is in contention to feature on Friday after training in the week.

Miguel Di Pizio, who started the Mariners' AFC Cup final triumph last Sunday, is his side's only fresh injury doubt heading into Friday's first leg.

Sasha Kuzevski and Noah Smith haven't featured this calendar year and remain out, while Angel Torres is still serving an interim suspension after being charged with sexual assault.

Match Odds

Sydney FC are 19/20 to beat the Mariners for a third time in the A-League Men's this season, giving them an implied win probability of 51.3%, while CCM are 12/5 - or a 29.4% chance - to take a lead back to Gosford.

The draw can be backed at 12/5, both teams to score at 4/7, and over 3.5 goals at 13/8.

Draw or Central Coast Mariners & both teams to score @ 8/5

The Mariners haven't been able to get the better of Sydney FC all season, at least not in an individual game. The best they've managed to muster is a 2-2 draw after regulation time in the Australia Cup, which ended 3-3 after extra time, and ultimately in penalty heartbreak.

However, a key constant of the Sky Blues side, Lolley, will be missing from the attack on Friday, and that should give the visitors a big boost heading into this first leg.

Whether they have quite enough to win the game remains to be seen - only Wellington Phoenix (32) and CCM (29) picked up more points at home than Ufuk Talay's side (26) in the regular season, and they haven't lost at the Sydney Football Stadium since December 9 - but I'm confident the Gosford club can at least avoid defeat and give themselves a solid platform to build on next week.

To add some more value, I'm also backing both teams to score. Before March's head-to-head, the last five meetings between the sides had seen at least three goals, with both teams finding the net in all.

The Mariners have kept five clean sheets in their last seven home games across all competitions, so Sydney FC will be aware of the significance that this first leg carries.

Sydney FC have scored in their last 10 matches at the Sydney Football Stadium, with both teams finding the net in seven of them.

Draw or Central Coast Mariners vs Sydney FC & both teams to score at 8-5

Robert Mak anytime goalscorer @ 15/8

With Lolley out, much of the attacking burden now falls to Slovakian attacker Robert Mak, who is in red-hot form for Sydney FC.

The 33-year-old has bagged a brace in each of his last two matches and has eight goals in his last 10 club starts, with six of those strikes coming on home turf.

Mak was on the scoresheet in the first meeting between these sides back on August 13, firing a first-half opener in the Australia Cup.

It took him just eight minutes to get in the goals against Macarthur last week and he looks decent value to strike for a third straight home game on Friday.

Robert Mak anytime goalscorer in Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners at 8-5

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

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