Sky Blues topple red-hot Mariners in 20-minute onslaught despite worst miss you could imagine
Central Coast Mariners have kissed their 12-game undefeated A-League Men streak goodbye after losing 3-1 to Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues’ star midfielder Anthony Caceres ran rampant in Saturday’s wet-weather skirmish, notching an assist before finding the back of the net himself at Industree Group Stadium in Gosford.
Extending their own unbeaten run to four games, Sydney have slipped back into the top six, leaving second-placed Central Coast to reckon with their first loss since November.
The visitors burst from the blocks when Rhyan Grant capped a headed pass from Caceres with a header of his own to draw first blood in the fourth minute.
Rattled, the Mariners’ defence began to unravel and they fell further behind four minutes later.
Caught in a pack of four defenders, Caceres outdanced his opponents to slide the ball home past goalkeeper Daniel Vukovic to make it 2-0 with less than nine minutes on the clock.
Far from finished, the 31-year-old then tore forward to deliver Sydney’s third goal in 20 minutes.
Caceres fired a pass towards the unmarked Patrick Wood in the box only for Mariners defender Dan Hall to stick his boot out and divert the ball into his own net.
Wood, returning from a one-match ban for a red card, could have made it 4-0 before halftime after picking up the ball off a failed Vukovic pass just in front of goal.
But the young striker missed from point-blank range, sending the ball crashing into the outside of the net with a right-footed shot.
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The Mariners finally broke through when Angel Torres made the most of a brilliant reverse pass from Storm Roux in the 58th minute but it was not enough to get them back in the match.