Brisbane Roar extended their unbeaten run to 26 games with a clinical 2-0 win over Central Coast in the first leg of the A-League major semi-final.
A strike from Kosta Barbarouses fired the Roar to the lead in the 52nd minute before skipper Matt McKay had a free header to kill off the match 17 minutes from the whistle.
Barbarouses scored after a poorly timed pass from Mariners striker Daniel McBreen was intercepted by McKay.
McKay put Barbarouses through and he calmly cut inside Mariners defenders Patrick Zwaanswijk and Alex Wilkinson to fire a low shot into the back of the net.
While they were far from their best, the Roar always looked dangerous and took a major step to securing a home grand final when McKay, who was left unmarked, headed home a cross from Barbarouses on 73 minutes.
McKay was on hand to capitalise on some terrible defence from Central Coast.
The Mariners tried hard, but again lacked the cutting edge up front.
Central Coast created chances in both halves but either failed to get a shot on target or delivered a poor final ball.
The home team came close several times, hitting the post once in the first half and twice in the second stanza.
Whenever the Mariners looked threatening the Roar always had plenty of players behind the ball which has been a feature of the club’s record-breaking unbeaten run.
The Mariners’ best moment came in the 61st minute when McBreen and Matt Simon hit the same post within 10 seconds.
A goal there would have given the home team a huge lift.
Instead, the Roar rallied and scored a crucial second goal.
The Mariners now face a monumental task of at least matching the result in Brisbane next Saturday night.