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2015 FFA Cup Round of 16 Matchday One Wrap

cityduranteFour games down, four to go in the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup 2015. We had twelve goals, a red card, a record breaking strike, and two games go into extra time on a scintillating night of Cup football.

Two all A-League clashes highlighted the first match-day of the round, with Melbourne City putting five past a hapless Phoenix, and Adelaide edging past Sydney FC 2-1 after extra time. Elsewhere, NPL Victoria’s Heidelberg United defeated Sydney United 2-0 at home, and the Glory left it very late to defeat Brisbane Premier League team Lions FC at Perry Park.

Melbourne City 5-1 Wellington Phoenix

City last faced Wellington in an Elimination Final in the New Zealand capital earlier this year, when Melbourne clinched a semi final with a 2-0 win over the Phoenix.

This time around, it would be vastly different line-ups for both sides. Tando Velaphi returned in goal, with new signings Michael Zullo and Bruno Fornaroli both starting. For the Phoenix it would be an understrength team, with Lewis Italiano deputising for Glen Moss in goals, and youngster Alex Rufer also starting. Kwabena Appiah and Vince Lia both had to be content with a spot on the bench.

It took just 17 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, when Stefan Zinni was brought down by Phoenix captain Andrew Durante, leaving referee Lucien Laverdure with no choice but to award a penalty. Aaron Mooy stepped up, sent Italiano the wrong way and put City a goal up early.

Just four minutes later, the home side would double their advantage. Harry Novillo cut inside from the left flank, beat three defenders then fired low and hard toward the back post. Italiano seemed to have the shot covered, but somehow the ball trickled off his gloves and nestled inside the netting.

City would add a third on the half-hour mark, again from the penalty spot. Some sloppy work by Italiano allowed Fornaroli to step up and put the ball under the ‘Nix custodian from the spot.

Wellington pulled one back through Roy Krishna (again, from the penalty spot) in the 34th minute, but in the 40th minute, City would restore their three-goal advantage. Zinni’s blistering run into the box ended with Robert Koren poking the ball home from near the penalty spot.

City added insult to injury after the break, with Mooy and Fornaroli combining to set up Dekker for the easiest of side-foot finishes to push the scoreline out to 5-1.

The Phoenix had a chance with 3 minutes remaining to add some respectability to the scoreline — this time, again, from the penalty spot. Roy Krishna’s effort was well placed, but Velaphi was up to the challenge to tip the ball around the post and maintain City’s 5-1 lead.

Heidelberg United 2-0 Sydney United

For the first time since the 1993/94 NSL season, Heidelberg and Sydney United would face off at the Olympic Village in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. With the souvlaki cooking on the sideline, a turnout of 2,200 were on-hand to see two storied sides face off for a spot in the quarter finals of the FFA Cup.

Griffin McMaster started in goals for the home side, with fellow former A-League players Daniel Vasilevski and Steven Pace also starting. Young Dan Heffernan returned up front for Heidelberg after scoring 3 goals for the Mariners in a trial match against the Wanderers in early August.

For Mark Rudan’s side, Justin Pasfield, Panni Nikas, and Chris and Peter Triantis highlighted a strong squad, as Sydney looked to book a place in the quarter finals for the first time.

26 seconds in, however, and it was disaster for Sydney United. A dipping cross from Andreas Govas found Dan Heffernan drifting in at the back post, and with ‘keeper failing to come out, Heffernan pocketed the opener — the fastest goal in FFA Cup history.

Heidelberg had a chance to double their lead in the 33rd minute, but Kaine Sheppard’s thumping free kick came out off the underside of the crossbar, much to the relief of the Sydney United squad.

Sydney came out hard after the break, with Panni Nikas and Chris Triantis both going close to levelling the scores in the 51st and 57th minutes respectively. Despite that, some quality ‘keeping by McMaster, and some steadfast defending by the entire Heidelberg team, meant that Sydney couldn’t capitalise.

In the 87th minute, it would be Heidelberg who would book their spot in the quarter finals, with Kenny Athiu controlling the high ball well before prodding it home to send the strong contingent of Heidelberg fans in attendance at Olympic Village into raptures.

Adelaide United 2-1 Sydney FC (a.e.t)

In a replay of last year’s quarter final, that Adelaide won 3-1 in extra time at Allianz Stadium, Adelaide hosted Sydney at an under-renovation Coopers Stadium on Wednesday. That renovation work meant that both sets of changerooms were unavailable, leaving Sydney to deal with the ‘quaint’ surrounds of a bar as their dressing area.

Graham Arnold stuck with a familiar looking line-up to the one that defeated Sorrento in the Round of 32, with Riley Woodcock, Brandon O’Neill and Andrew Hoole all starting again for the Sky Blues. New signing Milos Ninkovic found his way onto the substitutes bench.

Guillermo Amor picked an almost full-strength starting XI for Adelaide, with Sergio Cirio (7 FFA Cup goals in 6 appearances) the danger man in a front three comprising of Bruce Djite, Pablo Sanchez and the diminutive Spaniard himself.

Sydney started the stronger of the two sides, and pressed home that advantage after 16 minutes. Like he has multiple times in the past, Rhyan Grant decided to have a crack from distance, as he spotted Eugene Galekovic off his line. Grant’s shot was hit sweetly and nestled in the top corner to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.

From there, though, it was all Adelaide. A series of corners teased the home crowd, but the Reds failed to hit the target.

At the half hour mark, though, Adelaide really put the foot down.

First, Aaron Calver was called into action to prevent Cirio from finishing off some fantastic work down the right, before Janjetovic made a series of saves to deny both Cirio and Marcelo Carrusca from acute angles.

In the 41st minute, however, Adelaide would have the goal they richly deserved. A bustling run by Cirio along the by-line allowed the forward to find Pablo Sanchez on the edge of the six-yard box, with the Spaniard bundling the ball over the line to make it 1-1.

Adelaide continued to press after the break. Craig Goodwin almost put the home side in front from the dead ball, but his wicked, curling free kick glanced out off the crossbar.

The second half had plenty of half chances, but heading into the 80th minute, a lack of clear-cut opportunities for either team meant the game remained well and truly up for grabs.

Substitute Mate Dugandzic was picked out beautifully at the back post by Marcelo Carrusca in the 83rd minute, but his first-time volley went narrowly wide of the far post, much to the dismay of the 5,000 plus fans in attendance. Eli Babalj, too, had a late chance for Adelaide, but he couldn’t control his header, with the game heading to extra time.

In the 98th minute, Ninkovic had a great chance to put Sydney in front. After some stellar footwork to ditch Elrich, the Serbian international jinked onto his right boot before firing past Galekovic and narrowly wide of the far post.

At the other end, some great combination play by Cirio and Elrich ended with the latter being one-on-one with Janetovic, but disappointingly, the shot was hit straight at the Sydney custodian.

With the game seemingly destined for penalties, it took a m0ment of ‘rabona’ magic by Carrusca to put the Reds in front deep into extra time. Carrusca’s inventive ball over the top of the Sydney defence found two Adelaide players in space, and with Babalj and Janjetovic colliding, Dylan McGowan was on hand to tap home into an empty net. Despite the collision, the goal stood and Adelaide held on to secure their passage through to the quarter finals.

McGowan would go from hero to villain as the game wound down, penalised with a red card for clipping the heels of Sebastian Ryall, who was clear through on goal. The subsequent free kick — from just outside the box — went inches over the bar off the boot of Andrew Hoole.

That would be the last chance of the game, with Adelaide knocking Sydney out of the FFA Cup for the second year running.

Lions FC 0-1 Perth Glory (a.e.t)

The lowest ranked team remaining in the competition played host to A-League side Perth Glory on Wednesday at Perry Park, in front of 2,550 fans at the home of the Brisbane Strikers. The home side’s only familiar face — to A-League fans, anyway — would be former Phoenix defender Josh Brindell-South. For the Glory, new signings Marc Warren and Gyorgy Sandor both started, with Jerrad Tyson retaining his spot between the posts.

After 6 minutes, though, Tyson would be off — red carded by referee Peter Green for a challenge on Shoheel Khan inside the penalty area. From the spot, Andre Bonotto couldn’t beat substitute goalkeeper Nick Feely, with the Glory holding onto a 0-0 scoreline.

Chances were few and far between in the opening 45 minutes, with Sidnei’s speculative effort from distance in the 28th minute the best chance for the visitors. Overall, despite the man advantage, Lions FC were on the back foot for much of the opening half.

The home side were stronger early in the second half, with Nathan Reardon, Alex Janovsky and Michael Butters all having quality shots on goal before the hour mark. Feely, though, was proving to be up to the challenge for the Glory, denying Butters with a good save in the 56th minute, and then stopping Janovsky again in the 75th minute.

Sidnei had another chance to open his account after 80 minutes, but he failed to effectively place his header from close range, allowing Lions goalkeeper Phillip Zabaks to claim.

As the game entered extra time, Perth continued to press. Chris Harold went close a few minutes into the opening half, but after cutting back onto his right boot, the young forward’s shot thumped back off the crossbar.

Deep into additional time, it would be heartbreak for Lions FC. A bustling run by Sandor to the by-line allowed the import to cut back toward Harold, who fired powerfully on goal. His first effort was well saved, but the rebound came straight back to Harold who made no mistake with his second chance, putting ten-man Perth in front with just minutes remaining.

That lead would hold, and ten-man Perth would advance to the quarter finals – by the skin of their teeth!

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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