When the draw was taking place for the Australia Cup Round of 32, few could have predicted that one match up would be exactly the same as last year’s edition.
The odds of Sydney FC coming out first and meeting the Central Coast Mariners in the Round of 32 again, is 1/496. However, the balls were pulled out of the hat and the Sky Blues and their NSW neighbours meet once more. Maybe it’s time to put on a lottery ticket with those odds.
While no strangers to the Central Coast, this will be the third time in the last three editions of the Australia Cup/FFA Cup that they will meet each other.
First in 2021, where Sydney FC lost via a late penalty in the Semi-Final. Second in 2022 where Sydney FC won via a penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 draw in normal time, and now for the third time in 2023.
The Mariners have never won the competition but reached the Semi-Final in 2019 and the Final in 2021, losing to Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory respectively.
One of the eight original Isuzu UTE A-League clubs, the Mariners have won the competition twice, most recently last year where they dismantled Melbourne City in the Grand Final, beating them 6-1. However since that match, they have lost a few players with the likes of Jason Cummings and Nectar Triantis making their way overseas, with more set to follow.
During the Isuzu UTE A-League season, both teams met twice, with the home side winning each encounter. The Mariners won the early season one at Gosford 2-1 despite a late onslaught from Steve Corica’s side and in the Allianz Stadium version, the Sky Blues came from behind in a thrilling contest that had goals, red cards and plenty of drama, finishing 3-2.
Match details are yet to be confirmed for this clash, however the match is circled in for early August according to Australia Cup guidelines.