The final matches of the FFA Cup Round of 16 were played out across Australia last night, and if you were unable to see the games, The Newsroom has you covered.
Sydney United 58 v Sydney FC
Sydney FC advanced to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over local rivals Sydney United 58 at Edensor Park last night.
A stunning strike from Sydney FC’s Chris Naumoff opened the scoring before Stjepan Paric equalised in the shadows of half-time. Naumoff popped up again on the hour-mark and paralleled the opener with another exquisite volley to restore the Sky Blues’ lead, and while United came again they were unable to take their chances and it proved costly as Ali Abbas secured Sydney FC’s quarter-final place with a third late-on.
It was a derby-like affair in Sydney and the A-League side started the better, dominating possession. However it was going to require something special to open a resilient United defence coached by former Sydney FC defender Mark Rudan. Following a little give-and-go with new signing Bernie Ibini, Naumoff let fly from 25-metres and left 58’s keeper Antony Costa with no chance.
United hit-back just before the break after Nikola Petkovic failed to deal with a harmless cross, the Serb missed his attempted clearance, which caused the ball to fall nicely into the path of Paric to bury.
Sydney United took the initiative in the second-half and were unlucky not to take the lead as Mirjan Pavlovic had a goal disallowed in the 47th minute due to an offside call from the assistant. With Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold sensing 58’s urgency, the former Central Coast Mariners boss brought on Terry Antonis and new signing Shane Smeltz.
However it was Naumoff who proved to be the key to 58’s lock, the 19-year-old collected the ball just inside the box and smashed a volley into the far corner leaving Sydney United’s back-line with a sense of deja vu. The second goal shifted the power in favour of the Sky Blues, and was compounded in the closing stages when Abbas dazzled two 58 defenders with footwork before slotting home in the bottom left corner.
Sydney United 58 churned out a quality performance against superior opposition and were unlucky not to get something out of the match, if not for the brilliance of FC’s Naumoff. The victory for Sydney FC means they will face fellow A-League side Adelaide United in the final-eight.
Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar
Adelaide United defeated the reigning A-League champions Brisbane Roar 2-0 in front of a crowd of 4053 at a rain soaked Coopers’ Stadium.
Bruce Djite and Sergio Cirio scored on either side of the interval to book The Reds’ place in the quarter-finals where they will meet A-League rivals Sydney FC.
In a tense affair, surprisingly it was Adelaide who controlled the match, in an unusual role reversal it was the Brisbane Roar that were on the receiving-end of a barrage of Reds’ possession. The attacking duet of Cirio and Awer Mabil constantly threatened Jamie Young’s goal, and it was finally breached in the 35th minute, after Djite got onto the end of a Mabil through ball to calmly finish.
United were finding joy down the flanks, as Mabil and Pablo Sanchez were continually peppering Brisbane’s den with crosses, and it was a Sanchez delivery to the back-post in which Cirio dispatched with a close-range header to send Adelaide to a 2-0 lead.
Brisbane Roar finished the stronger of the two sides in this all A-League affair but were unable to beat The Reds’ custodian Eugene Galekovic. The loss for the A-League champions sees the Roar exit the FFA Cup to continue their pre-season preparations ahead of the forthcoming A-League season. Whereas Adelaide United will travel to Sydney to duel with the Sky Blues.
In other matches around the traps, A-League side Perth Glory downed Victorian Premier League side St Albans Saints 4-1 at the Knights Stadium in Victoria. Meanwhile, a single-goal from Jack Boxell was enough for the Palm Beach Sharks to eliminate the lowest ranked Round of 16 team South Springvale. Perth Glory will host the Melbourne Victory in the quarter finals and the Palm Beach Sharks landed the Central Coast Mariners. – Jake O’Brien
Top photo from Peter Nowakowski’s Flickr photostream.