Sydney FC have relinquished a 2-0 lead to miss a great chance to move towards the finals tonight.
The reigning champions were sitting pretty when teenager Dimitri Petratos scored twice before the half-hour mark but the Mariners hit back through Patricio Perez and Matt Simon to take their undefeated run to five matches whilst Sydney failed to win for the second straight outing.
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Yellow cards: CCM - Pedj Bojic 83’
SYD - Stuart Musialik 23’, Nick Carle 45’, Terry McFlynn 71’, Juho Makela 78’
Petratos beat the Mariners defence to open the scoring in the 17th minute before he swooped on a Patrick Zwaanswijk error to make it 2-0 ten minutes later.
However, Central Coast were given hope four minutes after the break when Perez fired home on his left after beating off competition from Sydney defender Stephan Keller.
The Mariners then got on level terms when Perez had a 57th minute free-kick from the right side of the penalty area. The Argentine’s delivery was precision-perfect for his side’s forwards with Simon coasting in for the header to make it 2-2.
Graham Arnold’s men have made a habit of not losing and this was no exception as they fought back from a situation where they were destined to lose second place but remained strong enough to give themselves every chance of a second chance in the finals.
Mathew Ryan (gk), Pedj Bojic, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Rostyn Griffiths (Hutchinson 62’), Patricio Perez, Oliver Bozanic, Michael McGlinchey, Trent Sainsbury (McBreen 46’), Alex Wilkinson, Matt Simon, Adam Kwasnik (Amini 80’)
Subs - Paul Henderson (gk), Daniel McBreen (46’), John Hutchinson (62’), Mustafa Amini (80’)
Liam Reddy (gk), Stephan Keller, Hiro Moriyasu, Stuart Musialik, Bruno Cazarine (Makela 63’), Nick Carle (Ryall 85), Terry McFlynn (Cole 71’), Matthew Jurman, Scott Jamieson, Sung-Hwan Byun, Dimitri Petratos
Subs - Ivan Necevski (gk), Juho Makela (63’), Shannon Cole (71’), Seb Ryall (85’)