A nightmare schedule threatens to derail Central Coast's dream of defending their A-League football title, with coach Phil Moss slamming the timing of their semi-final fixture.
A 1-0 win over Adelaide booked the Mariners their place in the semi-finals, where they'll meet the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium next Saturday - barely more than 24 hours after returning from their Asian Champions League fixture in Japan.
The result also means the Melbourne Victory will face the Brisbane Roar in the other semi-final at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday week.
A sensation Bernie Ibini strike in the 67th minute was enough to secure the win for the Mariners, leaving them just one victory away from a league-record fifth grand final appearance.
However, the Mariners feel the scheduling has robbed them of the opportunity to put their best foot forward against the Wanderers.
The squad will board a flight to Japan on Sunday morning, hoping to secure a spot in the ACL knockout phase in their must-win game against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday.
They return home on Friday morning.
Moss says it would not only compromise the quality of the football they'd play on Saturday but also the players' wellbeing.