AUSTRALIAN A-LEAGUE

Central Coast Stadium, Australia

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Central Coast Mariners

  • Patrick Zwaanswijk 30'
  • Adam Kwasnik 32'

2 - 3

FT

Brisbane Roar

  • Thomas Broich 2'
  • Mitch Nichols 26'
  • Henrique 68'

Ruthless Roar into A-League grand final

After watching a ruthless Brisbane Roar sweep aside Central Coast to secure a second straight home grand final, coach Ange Postecoglou says it won't matter who the reigning champions face in the A-League decider.

The Roar moved within reach of successive championships with a classy 3-2 win in Sunday's major semi-final second leg at Bluetongue Stadium to complete a comfortable 5-2 win on aggregate.

While Central Coast coach Graham Arnold was left disappointed with several refereeing calls, the Roar clearly proved the stronger side over two legs and the Premiers' Plate winners now face a sudden death grand final qualifier against in-form Perth Glory in Gosford on Saturday.

The winner of that match will go on to meet the Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, April 22.

And after seeing how his side overcame a hectic schedule that included a mid-week Asian Champions League trip to South Korea, Postecoglou said he would fear neither.

"I've never been prouder of a group of players than I am right now," Postecoglou said.

"... It would have been very tempting for us today to try and hold on to that 2-0 (lead) and make it tough for them and kill the game.

"But up until the last minute, we were trying to still score goals, so from our point of view that's the most important thing and the opponent becomes irrelevant.

"... Whether it's Central Coast or Perth Glory ... we'll go out there and try and win a game of football.

"We wanted to win today, we didn't want to limp into the grand final. The fact that we did says heaps for the players."

While the Mariners had talked up their chances of overturning the first-leg deficit, their hopes suffered a brutal early blow as Thomas Broich needed only 63 seconds to score a vital away goal with a curling free kick from out wide that beat everyone.

It came in controversial circumstances, though, with Arnold incensed the goal was allowed to stand after Mitch Nichols looked to interfere with play from an offside position.

Arnold said he would be asking for an explanation over the call but gave full credit to Brisbane, and the efforts of his players.

"We didn't get the big decisions today, that made it difficult. Some things we can't control didn't go our way," Arnold said.

"What we can control is our football performance and it was very good."

While Postecoglou welcomed a weekend off, Arnold said he didn't mind having to play again next Saturday, even with an ACL trip to South Korea looming a few days later.

"It might sound crazy but I'm very happy that we're not having a weekend off," Arnold said.

"... It can flatten you and kill your momentum."

After Nichols had extended the Roar's margin to four goals in the 26th minute, the Mariners produced a spirited fightback with goals to Patrick Zwaanswijk and Adam Kwasnik inside three minutes.

It breathed some life into the tie heading into the second half but Henrique's 67th minute strike put the final nail in the coffin to ensure home ground advantage and perhaps a significant mental advantage for the reigning champions.

Scoring Summary

  • Central Coast Mariners
  • Brisbane Roar

Match Stats

  • Central Coast Mariners
  • Brisbane Roar
14(6) Shots (on goal) 9(6)
8 Fouls 5
6 Corner kicks 2
1 Offsides 2
0% Time of Possession 0%
4 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
2 Saves 3

Teams

  • Central Coast Mariners
  • Brisbane Roar
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
Luke Brattan (76')