Reds, Mariners up for do-or-die ALM final

·2-min read

Central Coast haven't beaten Adelaide United in South Australia since 2016 but the Mariners are confident they can deliver a breakthrough win in their do-or-die A-League Men elimination final.

United and the Mariners are both on five-game winning streaks heading into Sunday's game at Cooper's Stadium, with the victor to face either Melbourne City or Melbourne Victory in next week's two-legged semi-final.

Mariners coach Nick Montgomery backed his charges, who beat Adelaide 3-0 in their most recent clash, albeit in Gosford, to step up.

"We don't fear anybody, we don't fear going anywhere, we don't fear big crowds," Montgomery said.

"Everything's on the line, and we're full of confidence. It doesn't matter who plays, who comes in the team, everyone knows the job, everyone follows the game plan and at the end of it we stick together."

Montgomery could see similarities between his Mariners and the 2013 championship-winning team.

"You've seen how galvanised we've been over the last 15 games ... we've had a lot of adversity, we've dealt with a lot of stuff on and off the pitch as well as some outrageous decisions that have gone against us," he said.

"Definite comparisons and some fantastic young players that I feel have got massive careers in the game and this is just the start for them.

"For me as a coach stepping out and actually looking at the team, I think there's a lot of comparisons from that championship-winning team."

Montgomery planned to leave decisions on Dan Hall and Moresche, who are under injury clouds, until the last possible moment.

Adelaide counterpart Carl Veart was confident the Reds could overturn poor recent finals form.

"Generally, the teams that are at the top are the best teams and perform in the final so it's tough," he said.

"But we'll give it a good shot this year, we believe we've got the quality here and playing a brand of football that can go all the way."

The likes of Craig Goodwin will have to be at their best to beat in-form Mariners goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, while Veart stressed Adelaide would need to limit supply to striker Jason Cummings.

"They do have a young side so that's something that we need to take advantage of and put a bit of pressure on them," Veart said.

"It's a finals game, young players, a little bit of different pressure so we have to try and use our experience that we've got on the pitch to see if we get an advantage."

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