We worked so damn hard – Juric

Ante Juric speaks to the press following the Mariners clash

Ante Juric was pleased with how his side conducted themselves in the first leg of the Semi Final against the Central Coast Mariners.

A second half Mackenzie Hawkesby goal and some strong defending from the Sky Blues sees them carry a 1-0 lead into next Saturday’s second leg at Leichhardt Oval kicking off at 3pm.

Head Coach Juric was left disappointed with how his side finished the regular season after missing out the Premiers Plate but they bounced back well against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

“The thing I was pleased about was the grit that we showed.

“We worked so damn hard and that’s what I’ve been proud of,” he said.

Mackenzie Hawkesby scored the opener

“We don’t want to just play with grit, we also want to play with some class because that’s what we have.

“I made sure this week that they knew they had to work and I told them that before they went out that they had to promise each other that they were going to work for each other.”

They left it all out on the pitch

There was concern for Sydney FC when Princess Ibini was removed at half time and it was later revealed that she had popped her shoulder out.

Juric though, didn’t seem too worried and revealed that it was a recurring issue.

“She [Ibini] has been landing on her shoulder and popping it out for the last couple of years, so looking at it, it is just precautionary [the substitute].

“A couple of years ago it may have been two or three weeks out but it’s rarely longer than that,” Juric said.

Princess Ibini was removed at half time

“We’ve got to find out what it is exactly but it’s not normally a long term thing.”

Heading into Saturday’s second leg, the Sky Blues are carrying a one goal lead and they now have the choice to continue to press and possibly get another goal or else sit back and protect the lead they have.

Should the tie finish level on aggregate, it will move to extra time and Ante Juric won’t want to give the visitors a sniff in front of goal to potentially let this happen.

“The second leg is always different.

“At the end of the day, we can’t just go there and stroll around so we have to do our job and one nils are dangerous scorelines as they will be at us.

Jada Whyman denies Rola Badawiya

“I’m not too fussed with what they do, I’m just going to make sure that we play with the same intensity and tactically we’re set up well and then the result will take care of itself.

“We’re not going to sit and protect a one nil, we are going to go and try win the game like any other game.

“Obviously the young players are younger and I’ll just make sure that they understand we’re just playing another game and you need to give everything and whatever happens after that happens,” he concluded.

Indiana Dos Santos played with maturity despite being only 16

They will have a big week on the training pitch this week before being one match away from another Grand Final appearance under the Head Coach.

It should be a brilliant atmosphere at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday which is not to be missed.

Match Details

Sydney FC v Central Caost Mariners
Liberty A-League Semi Final 2nd Leg
Saturday 27th April 2024
Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 3:00pm AEST
Gates Open: 2:00pm AEST
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Play
Tickets: Click Here