FFA Cup: Adelaide City claim scalp of A-League's Wanderers
Here’s what happened from grounds in country Victoria to western Sydney and the South Australian capital when a chilly night warmed the hearts of Cup fans yet again.
Adelaide City 1 (Love 75’)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0
Adelaide City produced the first major shock of the Westfield FFA Cup, dumping out Hyundai A-League heavyweights Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1-0 at a packed Marden Sports Complex.
In a classic Cup tie which flowed from end-to-end, it was a stunning solo goal from Thomas Love which pulled off the huge upset.
Love cut a swathe through the normally resolute Wanderers defence, speeding past five defenders before coolly slotting past an advancing Ante Covic with just 15 minutes left.
Despite some nervy moments towards the end, the former NSL champions held on to record a stunning win in front of more than 2700 fans.
Love’s sublime individual effort came after it appeared the visitors were starting to gain the ascendancy.
Striker Tomi Juric, who scored for the Foxtel A-League All Stars against Juventus just 48 hours earlier, had an off night and wasted three good chances in the second half.
The Zebras had their moments as well, appearing to take the lead midway through the second half only for it to be ruled out offside.
But it mattered little as just a few minutes later Love made himself an instant hero, sending the home side into raptures and ensuring the first major casualty of the Cup.
Oh, the magic of the Cup!
Sydney United 4 (Tomelic 14’, Mileski 60’, Pavlovic 71’, 78’)
FNQ FC Heat 1 (Smith 90’)
A brace from former Wellington Phoenix striker Mirjan Pavlovic inspired Sydney United 58 to a convincing 4-1 victory over FNQ Heat at a rain-sodden Edensor Park in Sydney's west.
The match got underway in treacherous conditions with heavy rain falling on the artificial surface at Edensor Park and both teams struggled to maintain possession in the early stages.
The home-side’s pressure eventually told in the 14th minute with an unmarked Anthony Tomelic on hand after a corner to volley the ball home from close range following a poor clearance from FNQ Heat.
FNQ struggled in the opening half hour playing on the counter attack with former Wellington Phoenix winger Alex Smith cutting a frustrated figure up front for the visitors.
Pavlovic should have doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 36th minute but the striker miscued his shot from six yards with only Heat keeper Daniel Valcicak to beat.
United continued to dominate after the break and extended their advantage in the 60th minute with Robert Mileski pouncing on a poor clearance to make it 2-0.
The procession continued with a double to Pavlovic securing the victory before Alex Smith netted in stoppage time to give FNQ a late consolation.
Blacktown City 0
Bentleigh Greens 1 (Stirton 40’)
For the second week in a row, a Victorian team has come to Sydney’s west and won. And after St Albans Saints last week it was Bentleigh Greens who left Sydney celebrating a famous win.
After being forced to do the majority of the defensive work in the first half, the visitors took a surprise lead just five minutes before the break.
On a wet and windy night, it was former Melbourne Victory NYL player David Stirton that struck the decisive blow.
A deep cross to the far post was headed back across the face of goal where Stirton was on hand to head home from just six yards out.
The home side upped the pressure in the second half but just couldn’t find an equalizer.
A mixture of wasteful finishing and some superb saves from Greens goal-keeper Alistair Bray ensured the Victorian NPL club would spring the upset on the road and progress to the last 16.
Melbourne City FC 1 (Kalmar 64’)
Sydney FC 3 (Gameiro 23’, Abbas pen 111’, pen 115’)
A pair of penalties in extra time from Ali Abbas saw Sydney FC defeat Melbourne City FC 3-1 in the round of 32 of the FFA Cup.
Corey Gameiro had given Sydney a first-half lead after a terrible decision from City goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, while Nick Kalmar equalised after the break, but the visitors eventually advanced, after Abbas converted twice from the spot in the second period of extra time.
City defender Jason Hoffman was sent off in the 109th minute for bringing down Gameiro from behind for the first of the two penalties, adding to the Melbourne-based club's woes in their first competitive fixture as Melbourne City FC.
Sydney struggled early but hit the front after 22 minutes, launching a counter-attack that saw Matthew Jurman release Gameiro down the left to slide the ball under Redmayne, who was well outside his box.
City continued to have the better of possession up until half-time and deservedly equalised in the 64th minute when Aaron Mooy's free-kick picked out Kalmar, who sent a powerful header past Ivan Necevski, sparking a frantic final half hour.
In extra time, City hit the bar through Mooy but Sydney won after Gameiro and Terry Antonis were judged to have been fouled in the area within four minutes of each other and Abbas kept his cool on both occasions.