The seven year wait for finals football for the Central Coast Mariners looks almost certain to end after a sublime Danny De Silva winner earned them a 2-1 victory over the Macarthur Bulls in Campbelltown.
The win, which continues their miraculous transformation this season, was inspired by a sensational performance from Costa Rican international Marco Urena and elevates Alen Stajcic’s side back up to third place on the table with just two games left in the regular season.
“It’s a big stride towards the finals but it’s not mathematically sealed yet at all,” Stajcic said.
“I thought Urena was exceptional dropping in and picking up balls and for me I thought we should have been up two or three one at half-time.”
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In contrast, Macarthur remains in the tensest of battles to make the top six in their inaugural season following the home defeat.
They currently occupy sixth spot and a final round home game against Wellington may determine which of the two sides makes the finals.
“We need to win on Monday (against Western United). Everything’s in our hands, if we’re good enough we’ll get there if not then it’s not meant to be this season,” Bulls coach Ante Milicic said.
It would be Macarthur who opened the scoring however when soon-to-be Socceroo Denis Genreau played a delightful ball over the top for the on-running Markel Susaeta to flick it expertly over Mark Birighitti in the Mariners goal.
Marco Urena and Matt Simon combined, as they have so often this season, for the equaliser on 31 minutes, as they teed up Jack Clisby, who burst forward from left back to drive it home from a tight angle.
A near replica of Clisby’s strike was ruled out soon after for offside but the Mariners winner was worth the wait.
Urena again turned provider, dragging the Macarthur defence apart before teeing up Danny De Silva who showed superb composure to go for placement over power and curl home the winner past Adam Federici from outside the box.
Macarthur threw plenty at the Mariners in search of an equaliser but some excellent interventions from another young player selected by Graham Arnold for the Socceroos in Ruon Tongyik and sharp saves from Mark Birighitti secured a win that should lock away finals football.
Marco Urena showed all the class compiled in his 67 national team games for Costa Rica to be the driving force in the Mariners’ triumph.
He created the space for Jack Clisby’s opener and then pulled the Macarthur defence apart to set up Danny De Silva for the winner. The attacker has established himself as one of the best foreigners in the league.
Green and gold Genreau
When the Socceroos squad was announced this week, Denis Genreau’s name was a surprise to see on the list. Not that anyone doubt the Macarthur dynamo’s class, but the call-up was earlier than many expected. He demonstrated why Graham Arnold has shown faith in him, however, with a majestic over the top through ball for the Bulls opener.