Queensland Roar took control of their A-League minor semi-final with a clinical 2-0 away win over Central Coast Mariners in the first leg in Gosford on Friday.
Strikers Mitch Nichols and Dutchman Sergio Van Dijk scored either side of hal-ftime to continue the Roar's dominance at the Mariners' home ground since the inception of the A-League.
The victory puts the Roar within reach of the February 21 preliminary final and means the Mariners will have to score at least three goals in next Friday's return leg in Brisbane to go on in the finals series.
But the Roar are likely to be without volatile Danny Tiatto for their home leg, after the former Manchester City and Leicester City player was sent off with 15 minutes remaining after receiving his second yellow card.
The winner of the minor semi will face the loser of the two-legged major semi-final between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, which gets underway in Adelaide on Saturday.