A-League Preliminary Final: Preview and Betting Tips

Finals football got into full swing last weekend as fans were treated to a couple of cracking matches. On Saturday night Central Coast stunned their hosts and quickly retrieved the two goal first leg deficit against Brisbane. The roar steeled themselves and scored two second half goals of their own to clinch a 4-2 aggregate victory over the mariners. The Sunday twilight match between Adelaide and Gold Coast was even more dramatic. The knockout final produced five goals and two penalties! Shane Smeltz opened the scoring with a goal as fine as you would see anywhere in the world. Adelaide stormed into the lead with two goals in quick succession early in the second half only for the match to twist once again. The Gold Coast equalised and then Smeltz scored from the spot with what proved to be the winner fifteen minutes from time.

Saturday Night

Central Coast Mariners v Gold Coast United

(AEDT 1900 – Fox Sports 3)

The penultimate match in this A-League season should be a tight tussle. In three previous clashes this campaign the teams have shared one draw and a win each. Central Coast won the most recent meeting 3-1 on the Gold Coast. Central Coast striker Matt Simon missed last weekend’s match and is desperately trying to prove his fitness for this one. If Simon doesn’t come up Central Coast will likely keep the same pairing that started against Brisbane, Daniel McBreen and Adam Kwasnik. Gold Coast don’t have any striking concerns as their marksman Shane Smeltz is finding the net from anywhere. Smeltz is the key to this contest. If the mariners allow him as much freedom as Adelaide did then they will be in real trouble. I doubt they will though as manager Graham Arnold was in the stands at Hindmarsh taking notes. Expect Patrick Zwaanswijk and Alex Wilkinson to be following the Gold Coast number nine everywhere.

Nine goals were scored in the two games last weekend, which was in stark contrast to week one of the finals when there were only four goals in three games. I think this game will be more like the low-scoring fixtures from week one. Both teams will have a defensive mentality hoping to be solid at the back and build from there. I think Central Coast might just edge the midfield battle and that will prove decisive. I am also going to punt on a low scoring contest, but I’m fairly conservative so will be going for the under 2.5 goals. If you’re an adventurous type you might want to bet on under 1.5 goals or maybe 0-0 at full time.

Andy’s Bet: Central Coast to win to nil @ 3.20 (Sportsbet)

Andy’s Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.72 (TAB Sportsbet)

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