The Central Coast Mariners threw away a goal advantage on Friday night to eventually be thumped 5-2 by the Sky Blues following a red card to Kalifa Cisse.

The beginning of the first half was all positive for bottom-of-the-table Mariners, taking the lead in the 17th minute when Connor Pain’s strike found the top corner. The Mariners had a number of attacking opportunities and most of the possession until mid-way through the first half when Cisse was sent off.

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Cisse’s first yellow card – for kicking the ball away out of frustration after conceding a handball – led to frustration minutes later. The veteran received a second yellow for a sliding challenge on Siem De Jong around the half-way line. Down to ten men the Mariners lost the momentum, which Mariners coach Mike Mulvey says ultimately lost them the game.

“You can break that into two parts… up until the send-off, and then after the send-off… I though we deserved the lead at half time.

“We played some fantastic football, we had them on the back foot, and then the send-off changed everything.

“He’ll understand what’s happened, he’ll be hurting just as much as our fans are and the rest of the players are… it changed the game completely”.

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Sydney’s head coach Steve Corica was pleased with his side’s second half performance against the compromised Mariners.

“A lot of teams struggle against ten men, our boys play really well, they found the space… once they went down to ten men I could only really see it going one way.

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“It changed the game, it always does, we have an extra man and we used that to our advantage very well, we created a lot of chances”.

Despite a promising first half, Cisse’s sending off was the defining moment which sunk the Mariners.

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Bachelor of journalism student from the University of Sydney covering Sydney FC. Passionate about writing and football.