2021-22 Australian A-League Men, Regular Season
  • Oliver Bozanic (45' OG)

Macarthur get lucky for win over Central Coast Mariners

A wicked deflection off Central Coast Mariners captain Oliver Bozanic has helped hand Macarthur FC a 1-0 win at Panthers Stadium to continue their unbeaten start to the A-League Men season.

Bozanic was in the wrong place at the wrong time as Ulises Davila's shot cannoned off the midfielder and into the back of the Mariners' net in the 45th minute.

The strike was later adjudicated to be an own goal and with a clean sheet, Ante Milicic's side have yet to concede from open play this season.

After a tense and frantic opening 20 minutes, the game took a sudden twist when Mariners goalkeeper Yaren Sozer pulled up with a suspected torn hamstring. Making his A-League debut in the place of Mark Birighitti, who picked up a suspension for a dismissal in the FFA Cup on Wednesday, Sozer stayed down for treatment before limping from the field of play.

In his place, 17-year-old Lawrence Caruso was called into action. Caruso, who donned jersey No. 50, didn't even have a profile on the club's website having joined the Mariners' NPL squad from Melbourne City earlier this year.

But the immediate focus came at the other end with Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto called into action to deny Marco Urena and Cy Goddard towards the end of the first half. Neither could convert and the Bulls soon had the breakthrough as an emotional Sozer watched on from the stands.

Daniel De Silva broke down the left flank, leaving Ruon Tongyik in his wake and squaring to Davila whose shot flew of Bozanic and into the net on the stroke of half-time.

Urena and Harrison Steele both snatched at chances in the second half, with Caruso denying Craig Noone, Tomi Juric and Al Hassan Toure to keep the Mariners in the game.

The Central Coast's best opportunity at finding an equaliser came with a little more than a quarter of an hour to go when Nick Montgomery's side broke quickly.

The Bulls' defensive lapse led to Milicic kicking an advertising hoarding in frustration but Brazilian import Moresche couldn't tap past Kurto who clutched the ball gratefully after a chaotic goalmouth scramble.