Snapshot of week two of the A-League Men finals

·2-min read
Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS


THEY SAID IT: "There was comments that we came here and celebrated like winning the grand final - I never saw that. We celebrated like we finished in second spot and got an Asian Cup spot. A lot of talk this week, mind games or whatever you want to call it - the boys were fully focused." - Mariners coach Nick Montgomery responds to a pre-match dig from Adelaide counterpart Carl Veart after Central Coast took a 2-1 advantage in their tie.

STATS THAT MATTER: Sydney have it all to do if they're to turn their 1-1 scoreline at home into an aggregate victory when they head to AAMI Park. City have not lost at their AAMI Park home through 13 regular season games and Sydney haven't beaten Rado Vidosic's men on their home turf in nearly five years.

MAN OF THE ROUND: Brian Kaltak gave away the handball penalty that gave Adelaide their opening goal via Craig Goodwin. But from there, the Central Coast centre-back was a defensive general, recording 13 clearances to stop Adelaide scoring from open play.

BEAT THAT: James McGarry's equaliser for Central Coast against Adelaide was seriously special. With the Mariners trailing 1-0, McGarry launched from just outside the area and the ball sailed into the top left corner.

KEY MOMENT: Trailing 1-0, Sydney midfielder Anthony Caceres was awarded a penalty but could only fire his effort at City keeper Tom Glover. Right-back Callum Talbot cleared the ball to safety but replays showed the City man had encroached - albeit slightly - during Caceres' run-up. Adam Le Fondre stepped up for the re-taken penalty to score his sixth goal in as many games and keep the tie alive.

TALKING POINT: City coach Rado Vidosic isn't a fan of the A-League Men finals format that has meant his side will play just three games in five weeks if they reach the grand final. It's not changing this season but clearly puts some pressure on the league's top brass.

INJURIES: City will hope to regain Aiden O'Neill from back spasms for their second leg. Adelaide will be without Hiroshi Ibusuki (calf) and Jay Barnett (hamstring) against the Mariners.

WHAT'S NEXT: City host Sydney in the return leg at AAMI Park on Friday while Adelaide have it all to do on the Central Coast the following day.