FFA Cup preview: Round of 16 action

What a night of action awaits in the FFA Cup: a clash between two A-League teams, two potential giant-killings, plus a huge Sydney derby for good measure. The TV cameras will focus on the game at Edensor Park but the three other games are just as mouth-watering as the FFA Cup delivers more Round of 16 action for the fans.

Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar  #ADLvBRI
Venue: Coopers Stadium, Hindmarsh, SA
Kick-off: 7pm (local) 7:30pm (AEST)

Adelaide and Brisbane face each other in round one of the A-League next month so markers can be set down for the upcoming campaign, as well as the goal of reaching the last eight of the FFA Cup.  The Reds beat Melbourne City last time out after a previous loss to in-form Melbourne Victory. Coach Josep Gombau won’t have the distraction of the All Stars game for this match as his team look to join Adelaide City in the draw for the next round.

A 9-0 win behind closed doors was how Brisbane Roar warmed up for this tie.  Having played a double-header last weekend, Mike Mulvey will be looking to his best XI to make sure Queensland have one representative in the next round.  Roar have won their last four games in Adelaide, and will be quietly confident of leaving South Australia with the win.

Palm Beach Sharks (QLD) v South Springvale (Vic) #PBSvSS
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Robina, QLD
Kick-off: 7:30pm

Palm Beach Sharks are having a great season and only a few would bet against them moving through to the next round. Having seen off Olympic FC to take the NPL Queensland title last week, they picked up an away win in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2014 Elimination Finals over the weekend. This is the second fourth tier team the Sharks have faced after beat Hakoah 2-1 last time out. 

With hardly anyone expecting them to qualify, securing a round of 16 spot is a fantastic achievement for South Springvale. The team was sixth in the Victoria State League 1 South-East, with cup competitions delivering far more success. FFA Cup Round of 32 team losers, Melbourne Knights, only narrowly defeated them in the Dockerty Cup Final. The lowest ranked club in the competition is master of sudden death survival, and having won a penalty shootout to get past South Cardiff in the previous round they no doubt fancy their chances of another upset.

St Albans Saints (Vic) v Perth Glory #SASvPER
Venue: Knights Stadium, Sunshine North, VIC
Kick-off: 7:30pm

Since defeating Parramatta in the last round, St Albans Saints have lost their coach, Toby Paterson, and have their captain Ryan McGuffie as caretaker coach. McGuffie was in an ebullient mood when asked about the game. Talking about discipline, bravery and respect for his team, he was mindful of the “one-off” nature of the cup. McGuffie is clear on his game plan: “The team will approach the game with a set structure to be secure defensively but also support and have a license to be creative when in attack.”

Perth Glory will have the experience of Andy Keogh to rely on and he’s in no mood for a cup upset. “We don’t give away a silly goal, we'll be ruthless in front and make sure we don’t give the opposition anything to cling on to,” Keogh said. Perth travel to Victoria with a fully fit team and are raring to go. Keogh again: “It wouldn’t be disastrous if we lost because that’s the magic of the cup...anyone can beat anyone….but our preparation has been second to none.”

Sydney United 58 FC (NSW) v Sydney FC  #SUvSYD

Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park, NSW
Kick-off: 7:30pm  

After finishing ninth in this season’s NPL NSW, Sydney United 58 FC will be embracing the cliche of ‘every game being a cup final’.  Mark Rudan and his men are aware that this would be a massive scalp if they could win.  The coach is also aware that his A-League aspirations would get a massive boost. Also, being an ex-player of Sydney FC makes the tie even more exciting than it already is.

A 0-0 draw last time out, against Wellington Phoenix, is the first time Sydney FC have failed to score since losing to EPL team Newcastle United in July.  Bernie Ibini summed up the tie: “We are the bigger team so we will be favourites but we can't go into the match underestimating them at all because anything can happen.” Not short on confidence, Graham Arnold’s men will be looking to boss the game and Ibini reinforced this point: “Every game we play we want to dictate the game and play attractive football so this game will be no different.”