Central Coast Mariners showed the true qualities needed from a team capable of winning the league – the ability to win ugly. An Oliver Bozanic goal in the opening 10 minutes was enough to earn the league leader a narrow 1-0 victory against a lacklustre Sydney FC – who slumped to their third straight defeat in the process.
While the hosts were well below-par, the Mariners themselves were way off the high standards which the club have set themselves so far this season and prompted the soccer betting tips to predict title glory. After Olyroo skipper Bozanic had edged the visitors in the lead on nine minutes, the Mariners failed to push on score that second goal, which would have made the afternoon a lot easier for head coach Graham Arnold.
Arnold admitted his side’s performance had proved that while the club were in a good place, there was still plenty for squad to work on if they are to push on this year and claim the A-League title. The gaffer, however, was delighted to have seen his team come out of a poor performance with all three points – the true sign of a championship winning team.
“That second half showed that we've got to do better.”
“I say to the players 'don't look at the table, I know it's hard not to but don't look at it and play every game on its own merit'.”
“We know how to win playing good football but we also have a quality of grinding out a win if need be if we're having a bad day.”
The Mariners are now in a position which they wouldn’t have dreamed they would be in when planning their targets – eight points clear of a stuttering Brisbane Roar, and with a game. The live soccer betting suggests that all the pressure will now firmly be on Arnold and his charges to build on this stunning start to the season and go on and claim the title.