The FFA Cup Round of 16 produced some exciting action as teams fought for a quarter-final spot.
Tuggeranong v Melbourne Victory
It was a case of David versus Goliath as Melbourne Victory dismissed Tuggeranong 6-0 at Vikings Park in Canberra last night.
With a sell-out crowd of 5150 packed into Vikings Park to see the rampant Melbournians destroy the home side’s hopes of a quarter-finals berth. Matthieu Del Pierre, Guilherme Finkler, Conor Pain scored and new signing Besart Berisha snagged a hat trick.
Victory opened the scoring after 13 minutes through former Brisbane Roar talisman Berisha who bundled home from a deflected Pain cross. The lead was doubled only minutes later when a following a beautifully rehearsed free-kick was tapped home by Frenchman Del Pierre. Pain and Berisha were on the same wavelength all game and the pair combined once more in similar fashion for the third. Pain screamed down the sideline before squaring the ball across the box for the Albanian to finish.
Three-nil up at half-time it would have been easy for Victory to drop off the pace, but Finkler made sure Melbourne continued the demolition, curling a free-kick from just outside the penalty area into the right corner of the net. Pain reversed roles for the fifth, the Australian getting onto the end of a low-driven cross, before swapping roles again and setting up Berisha once again for the sixth.
Tuggeranong had half-chances at best and chased shadows for much of the match. Victory controlled the game from start to finish and scored almost at will on its way to securing the first quarter-finals spot.
Adelaide City v Brisbane Strikers
Adelaide City continued their winning run in South Australia on Tuesday night, beating Brisbane Strikers 1-0 at Marden Sports Complex.
The scoreline did not reflect the game as City were constantly denied by Strikers’ shot-stopper Michael Turnbull, formerly of Standard Liege and Roma. The 33-year-old was a brick-wall for much of the game, but the Adelaide’s persistence was finally rewarded just before the half-time interval via Anthony Costa, who reacted acrobatically to a point-blank save from Turnbull to score right under the Australian’s nose.
The win for Adelaide City secures their quarter-final berth; the Brisbane side bow out of the competition.
Sydney Olympic v Bentleigh Greens
Sydney Olympic have exited the FFA Cup at the hands of Victorian side Bentleigh Greens, losing 1-2 at Lambert Park in Leichhardt last night.
Bentleigh raced out of the blocks opening the scoring early through a penalty tucked away by Liam McCormick. The Greens doubled their lead after Olympic centre-back Brayden Sorge misjudged a high-ball and gifted Ryan De Vries a one-on-one with Sydney keeper Paul Henderson. De Vries calmly dispatched the chance to the right corner. It wasn’t until stoppage time the former NSL team registered a goal, but the diving header from Taiga Soida was little consolation.
The loss for Sydney Olympic came just 48 hours after they lost their State League grand final and the fatigued showed in a lacklustre performance. Bentleigh Greens advance.
Olympic FC v Central Coast Mariners
The Central Coast Mariners cruised into the quarter-finals with a professional 3-1 win over Brisbane’s Olympic FC at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre on Tuesday night.
Central Coast’s Mitchell Duke showed his composure in maintaining the ball while fending off makeshift tackles before shifting the ball out wide to Sim who delivered a cross to Fitzgerald’s head and into the back of the net. Sim, naturally a defender, then picked up the ball from the middle of the park and burst to the edge of the box before rifling his shot into the far corner to double the Mariners’ lead.
The Gosford side were dominant throughout the game but succumbed to some fast, intricate passing on the edge of the box, delightfully chipped over Liam Reddy to give Olympic a sniff. Then a slip-up from goalkeeper Brandon Cuminao in an attempt to release the ball allowed Trifiro to seal the victory.
As expected, Central Coast Mariners advance to the quarter-finals and continue their pre-season preparations positively ahead of the A-League season due to start in October. – Jake O’Brien
Top photo from the official Twitter account of the FFA Cup.