Gold Coast City supporters would’ve been pleased when the ball containing South Melbourne FC’s number was drawn as its quarterfinal opponent during last Tuesday evening’s FFA Cup quarterfinal draw.
Gold Coast City, formerly known as Palm Beach Sharks, have made a habit of halting the FFA Cup run of Victorian Greek-based teams, having ended South Springvale’s fairytale run in 2014 and following that up in 2015 by ending South Melbourne’s run in the round of 32. In that match, played at Cbus Stadium, the Sharks prevailed after a marathon 8-7 penalty shootout after the teams were locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
This year’s quarterfinal match-up between Gold Coast City and South Melbourne will ensure at least one member Federation club makes it to the semifinal stage.
South’s great rival, Heidelberg United will have to repeat its giant killing feat of the Roundd of 32 win over Perth Glory, after drawing another A-League opponent, Adelaide United, at home in the quarterfinals.
Heidelberg United coach George Katsakis commented on the draw, “It’s a huge challenge for us, but we showed with the way we played against Perth and the mentality we took into that game that at our best we can give these teams a game.
“We are delighted to get a club as big as Adelaide. They won the A-League the season before last and they have some excellent players. It’s a great test for my players and I want to reward the boys who have got us this far,” Katsakis said hinting that the Bergers would be relying on the current squad rather than enlisting the services of a marquee player, as was the case when former Greek international Kostas Katsouranis appeared for Heidelberg against Melbourne City in the 2015 FFA Cup quarterfinals.
In other quarterfinal match ups, Sydney City will play Melbourne City in an A-League derby while NPL club Blacktown City will host Western Sydney Wanderers in a Sydney derby. The Wanderers ended Bentleigh Greens’ hopes of an FFA Cup quarterfinal berth with a clinical 4-0 win last Tuesday evening at Kingston Heath.
The Greens began the match brightly, maintaining possession well in the opening phase of the game, until suffering an early setback when their defence was caught napping bi a quickly taken free kick resulting in an easy goal to Wanderers’ skipper Cornthwaite. The Greens stayed in the game until the 52nd-minute when Spanish striker Riera doubled the visitors’ lead with a header followed by additional second half goals to Lustica and Mark Bridge. After the match, Bentleigh coach John Anastasiadis rued his team’s early lapse in concentration. He commented, ” I don’t think it (4-0) was a fair reflection. We started off lively. One lapse of concentration led to the first goal. That’s a lesson we’ve got to learn.”
Anastasiadis was also critical of the FFV for scheduling his team’s NPL 1 semifinal against South Melbourne just three days after the FFA Cup match against Western Sydney. He commented after the loss to Western Sydney, “It’s not a level playing field.
“No-one consulted us on anything. We’re playing (an FFA Cup game) on Tuesday and a semifinal on Friday, while South Melbourne are cheering.
“The Federation has got to be better than that if they want a serious competition.”