Four must-see clashes of the FFA Cup Round of 32

South Melbourne

The Westfield FFA Cup is back on the national stage and the 2017 edition promises to be the competition’s best yet.

Kicking off in February, more than 730 teams entered this year’s tournament which has now been whittled down to the final 32 teams.

And with the Round of 32 set to kick off on July 26, we look ahead and pick out four matches which loom as must-see clashes!

SOUTH MELBOURNE V EDGEWORTH EAGLES

Wed July 26, 8pm, Lakeside Stadium, VIC

#SOMvEDG

Victorian PS4 NPL heavyweights South Melbourne host high-flying Newcastle-based Edgeworth Eagles in the televised fixture on the opening night of the Round of 32.

FFA CUP HISTORY

*South Melbourne’s only previous match in the Westfield FFA Cup Final Rounds ended in heartbreak when they were bundled out by Palm Beach SC (now Gold Coast City) 8-7 on penalties in the Round of 32 in 2015.

*Edgeworth went close to knocking off Melbourne City FC in the Round of 32 in 2015 where only two cracking Aaron Mooy free kicks rescued the A-League side from an embarrassing defeat.

Then last year, they headed north to Cairns and put three goals past FNQ Heat before succumbing to Western Sydney Wanderers FC in the Round of 16.

Edgeworth FCPENINSULA POWER v MELBOURNE CITY

Tues August 1, 7.30pm, Dolphin Stadium, QLD

#PENvMCY

In a David v Goliath battle, Brisbane Premier League side Peninsula Power play host to reigning Champions Melbourne City on matchday two.

FFA CUP HISTORY

*Peninsula Power are making their debut in the Round of 32 and are just the second side from outside of the QLD PS4 NPL (Lions FC were the other) to reach this stage of the competition.

*Melbourne City won the title in 2016 against Sydney FC. They were knocked out by Glory in the 2015 Semi-Finals and failed to progress from the Round of 32 in 2014.

Peninsula Power will host Melbourne City in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.

BLACKTOWN CITY v CENTRAL COAST MARINERS

Wed August 2, 7.30pm, Lily’s Football Centre, NSW

#BLCvCCM

PS4 NPL NSW outfit Blacktown City – led by ex-Mariner Matt Lewis – will fancy their chances of an upset against Paul Okon’s Mariners side on home soil.

FFA CUP HISTORY

*Blacktown City made an impressive run to the QFs last year before being knocked out by Sydney FC. Qualified for both the 2014 and 2015 editions but failed to progress past the Round of 32.

*Central Coast Mariners suffered a shock loss to NPL outfit Green Gully in 2016 in the Round of 32. Knocked out in the Round of 32 by Wellington in 2015. Progressed to the semi-finals of the 2014 edition before losing to eventual champions Adelaide Untied.

Blacktown City will face Central Coast Mariners in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.HUME CITY V BENTLEIGH GREENS

Wed August 9, 7.30pm,  ABD Stadium, VIC

#HCIvBGR

Two hugely successful sides from Victoria’s PS4 NPL meet in a winner takes all clash at ABD Stadium on matchday four.

FFA CUP HISTORY

*Hume City reached the Semi-Finals in 2015 where they fell to eventual winners Melbourne Victory. Hume made the last 16 in 2016 where they were also knocked out by Victory.

*Bentleigh Greens were the first non A-League team to reach the FFA Cup Semis in 2014 where they beaten by Perth Glory. They progressed to the Quarter Finals in 2016 where they were defeated by Melbourne Victory.

FFA Cup trophy

 

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Former Glory winger eyes FFA Cup upset

Ex-Perth Glory flyer Adrian Zahra is relishing a crack at his former Hyundai A-League club in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.

Zahra, 26, now plays for PS4 NPL Victorian club Heidelberg United, who will host Glory in a marquee tie of the opening round of the FFA Cup at Olympic Village next month.

READY FOR CRACK AT GLORY

“Everyone was very excited by the draw,” Zahra said.

“We knew it was going to be a tough draw whoever we played and obviously facing an A-League team is going to be that much more difficult.

“But I think as players we all wanted an A-League club just to see where we’re at as individuals and collectively. And it’s great for the club as the game will draw a good crowd and make some money.

“There’s no better time to be playing an A-League team because they will only be in the early stages of their pre-season and won’t have hit their straps.

“But we’re not under any illusions; we know it’s going to be very tough.”

Kenny Lowe; Adrian ZahraSOME JOURNEY FOR ZAHRA

After making his Hyundai A-League debut for Melbourne Heart in a Derby against Victory, Zahra looked a star of the future before suffering a career-threatening knee injury.

But he’s loving his time in the NPL with Heidelberg, playing a key role in driving George Katsakis’ men to the summit of the Victorian NPL table.

“There’s not a huge difference in standard between the NPL and the A-League,” Zahra said.

“It’s pretty physical and the conditions make it a little bit harder to play which is probably why it’s not quite as technical as the A-League.

“The pace and physicality is similar, but because the players aren’t training full-time, they’re definitely not as fit and sharp. It’s just those little one-percenters that are missing.”

NO EASY RIDE FOR GLORY

“It’s [Olympic Village] a really nice to place to play. There are renovations going on at the club because a lot of money has been pumped in by the council.

“The dressing rooms are brand new and really good and going forward, things are looking really positive. Behind the scenes everyone works tirelessly to make things work and there’s a real family atmosphere here.

“On the field, we tend to mix it up tactically from game to game.

 

“Teams are coming after us a little bit at the moment and trying to shut us down, so there are times when we look to turn them around in the first 15 minutes and see how they react to that.

“But most times we just try to win the physical battle and then outplay the teams we come up against.

“We’ve got the best defence and the best attack in the league right now, so we deserve to be where we are.”

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

 

Impressed Ernie Merrick eyes midfielder for Newcastle Jets

Ernie Merrick - Newcastle Jets.

Ernie Merrick only took charge of his first Newcastle Jets training session last week but the Scotsman has been impressed with what he’s seen in his short stint at the club.

The former Phoenix and Victory boss has been charged with the task of turning the underperforming Jets around following seven consecutive seasons without finals football.

And with a rejuvenated roster and the opportunity to mold his team over the extended pre-season, Merrick is confident things will turn around in the Hunter.

Irish striker Roy O’Donovan has vowed to bring goals to the Newcastle Jets.

ERNIE IMPRESSED WITH JETS

“I actually thought I’d have more work to do. I’ve been very impressed with the quality that we’ve brought in,” Merrick told reporters on Tuesday.

“Roy O’Donovan was scoring goals for fun yesterday. He was getting great service from Andrew Nabbout and on the right-hand side from Dimitri (Petratos).

“The midfield seem to be much more organised defensively than I thought. Now I’ve got to get them to be a little bit more creative.

“Nikolai Topor-Stanley has just been tremendous an on-field coach. I think Nigel Boogaard will be the same when he comes back in once he gets over his injuries. “

Ernie Merrick only took charge of his first Newcastle Jets training session last week but the Scotsman has been impressed with what he’s seen in his short stint at the club.JETS EYEING ATTACKNG MIDFIELDER

“We’re hoping to sign an attacking midfielder but we’ve got time to do that. We’re very lucky that we’ve only got two players to sign and nearly everyone’s back to full training,” Merrick said.

“We’re pretty sure who we want. We’ve got ourselves a short list of who we want and we’ve targeted those. If we don’t get the first one, we’ll get the second, if not we’ll get the third but the top three that we’ve selected are all good players and it won’t make a lot of difference because they’re out of contract type players.

“Whoever we sign, although they might be an attacking midfielder they must to be a goal-scorer.

“That’s the biggest thing that I’m pushing with my coaching is about scoring goals and at the same time everyone working to recover the ball.

“But it’s all about scoring goals, that’s what brings the crowds in. It will be someone of quality, who we have to pay a little bit more to and it will be outside of the cap.”

Andrew Nabbout did his best to get the home fans on their feet when he scored his third goal of the campaign.

A-LEAGUE ATTRACTING QUALITY

“I don’t think the A-League is seen as a place that you come for your superannuation anymore. I think that there’s some good players coming out here, high quality,” Merrick said.

“We can attract players that 10 years ago we couldn’t attract when it was all iffy. Now the A-League’s very high standard, it’s a great place to live over here in Australia and New Zealand.

“So we can attract good players. We can pay as much money as some of the smaller countries in Europe because a lot of them are struggling financially.”

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Arsenal star’s compliment to Aussie trailblazers

Arsenal's star goalkeeper Petr Cech and Socceroo legend Tim Cahill during his days with Everton.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017 – 

John Greco @Grecs7
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has paid tribute to a trio of Caltex Socceroo greats for setting the path for Australian players to forge careers in Europe.

Ahead of his trip to Australia next week as part of Arsenal’s tour Down Under, Cech spoke to the Gunners website about the impact of Aussies in the EPL.

AUSSIE TRAILBLAZERS IN THE EPL

“We played against Tim Cahill when he was at Everton and I think it’s an interesting one because you are miles away [from home],” Cech told Arsenal Player.

Tim Cahill and David Moyes in their Everton days.

“Australia is very far and Mark Schwarzer was going 20 years to play with the national team so you can imagine you go all the way, just before the game you played in the Premier League.  It’s not easy but I think it just shows how committed they were to the national team, going back and forth.

“Once they have success it obviously opens the door for everybody and I thought Mark, having played so many games at Middlesbrough and then Fulham, left a huge mark on the Premier League.

Mark Schwarzer in goals for during during last season's UEFA Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

“Then with [Mile] Jedinak, Cahill, when you have players like this coming in and doing really well it obviously opens gates and opens the doors for the other players as well.

“If they qualify for big tournaments and then the players do well, they can end up in the Premier League or Bundesliga or the European top leagues.”

Mile Jedinak helped Aston Villa to a narrow win in the Championship overnight.

ARSENAL IN AUSTRALIA

The Gunners will touch down in Australia on Monday and spend a more than a week in Sydney as part of their preparations for the new English Premier League season.

Arsene Wenger’s side will play two friendlies against Hyundai A-League clubs, starting with a clash against champions Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Thursday, July 13.

 

They’ll then take on Western Sydney Wanderers at the same venue two days later.

 

Source  :  Football Federation Australia