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 By PA Sport

Mariners tighten grip on second

Central Coast Mariners boosted their Asian Champions League qualification hopes with victory over Western Sydney Wanderers.
Central Coast Mariners boosted their Asian Champions League qualification hopes with victory over Western Sydney Wanderers.

The race for second place in the A-League swung the way of Central Coast Mariners on Saturday as they saw off Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1.

With Brisbane Roar safe in first spot ahead of the playoffs, it remains to be seen who will take second and qualify for the Asian Champions League.

The Mariners took a big step towards it being them, though, leapfrogging the Wanderers in front of just over 13,000 fans.

Full-back Joshua Rose put them one up in the 32nd minute after a strong run from his own half, before Nikolai Topor-Stanley turned in a 40th-minute equaliser after Tomi Juric's shot fell to him.

It appeared as though the game would end as a draw after that but, with seconds left, Bernie Ibini-Isei curled in a winner that prompted a firework display from the home club who knew the significance of the goal.

They head to bottom side Perth Glory next weekend.

Saturday's other game saw Melbourne Victory draw 1-1 with Sydney FC.

Joel Chianese put Sydney ahead three minutes after the break but James Troisi equalised midway through the second half.

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