After last weeks great start, this Tuesday brings the next four fixtures of the FFA Cup Round of 32. Along with two intriguing ties between NPL teams, Hyundai A-League teams make their first appearance.
Parramatta FC (NSW) v St Albans Saints (Vic) #PARvSAS Venue: Melita Stadium, Sefton KO: 7:30pm
The meeting of Parramatta and St Albans is a matchup of two teams from the third tier. Parramatta are currently top of NPL NSW 2 while St Albans sit 5th in NPL Victoria 2. Parramatta are unbeaten in the last 14 games in the league but the two games they have lost this season have been at Melita Stadium. Top scorer Daniel Rezo will be looking to break his three game goalless streak and get on the scoresheet.
NPL Victoria 1’s St Albans Saints are also confident after getting a creditable 2-2 draw against league leaders Avondale Heights on Saturday. Coach Toby Paterson is hoping that several players can shake off niggles for Tuesday night’s clash. Striker, Yusuf Yusuf, is cup-tied but Paterson isn’t fazed: “We feel we are a fit team and the boys are in good shape.” The coach is realistic about his team’s chances but hopeful of staying in the competition, saying “to beat Parramatta and to get to the last 16 would just be a dream come true for us”.
South Hobart (Tas) v Tuggeranong United (ACT) #SHvTUG Venue: KGV Park, Glenorchy KO: 7:30pm
This tie involves teams that are the sole representatives from the respective member federations. Tasmania’s South Hobart entertains Tuggeranong United from ACT. South Hobart are taking their opponents seriously by watching them four times in the run up. Apart from having first choice goalkeeper Kane Pierce suspended, South Hobart’s coach Ken Morton is hoping to have a full squad at his disposal. Fresh from a 4-1 victory to consolidate their lead at the top of the Victory League, South Hobart are confident of a successful night. “We have grasped this opportunity and hope to entertain what will be a massive Tasmanian crowd with a wonderful evening,” Morton said.
Coach Steve Forshaw isn’t feeling the strain as he takes his team to KGV Park. "There is no real extra pressure being the sole rep from the ACT,” Forshaw said. “(But) it does add lustre to our involvement given that we are the first from our region and technically the first team to qualify for the Cup." Having arrested a five game losing streak on Friday evening, Forshaw will be hoping that all of his players are fit for duty. Board member Anthony Corder expressed his appreciation as fellow ACT clubs have helped the team prepare. “We have actually received quite a bit of support from our fellow Capital Football region clubs in terms of moving matches, well wishes and even some logistical support,” Corder said.
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory #NEWvPER Venue: Magic Park, Broadmeadow KO: 7:30pm
Perth make the journey east with the confidence of being unbeaten in their last four away games against Newcastle Jets. Although that statistic counts very little in the terms of form, it will be a motivating factor. Having lost his star striker to English Premier League team Fulham, new Jets coach, Phil Stubbins, will be hoping that replacement striker Jeronimo Neumann follows up his four-goal debut with more goals. Losing goalkeeper Mark Birighitti due to A-League All Stars duty will be a blow to the home sides chances.
Glory coach, Kenny Lowe, has similar issues with two players in the All Stars squad, including new signing Youssouf Hersi. Perth will be buoyed by a creditable draw against La Liga’s Malaga CF last week. With the clash taking place during pre-season, this one will be won and lost on desire. Perth will also hope to take advantage of the game being played at Magic Park rather than the Jets’ home ground, Hunter Stadium.
Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix #ADLvWEL Venue: Marden Sports Complex, Marden KO: 8:00pm (7:30pm AEST)
Adelaide United’s home form against Wellington is formidable and they will be looking for this to continue. With nine wins out of 12 in Adelaide, the home time should feel confident. However, they are without head coach Josep Gombau (coaching the All Stars) and recently suffered a 5-1 mauling at the hands of Malaga CF. In addition, experienced goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic and Marcelo Carrusca join their coach in Sydney for the Juventus clash. Livewire winger Awer Mabil still feels that they can prevail: “It will probably come down to who is fitter but I think we have enough quality to get past Wellington.”
Despite their record against Adelaide, Wellington Phoenix’s recent showings against English Premier League sides Newcastle United and West Ham give them plenty of confidence. Assistant coach Chris Greenacre has said as much: “We performed well (against West Ham)…and for the players to back that up only days later, with probably a better performance against Newcastle United really does put us in a good space leading into the cup tie.” Phoenix too are missing two players, Albert Riera and Manny Muscat, to A-League All Stars duty along with Vince Lia who is suffering with a knee injury.
For a live stream of the match between South Hobart and Tuggeranong United from KGV Park in Glenorchy visit http://www.southhobartfc.com/.
The match between the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory will be broadcast on 1233 ABC Newcastle, online at abc.net.au/newcastle or on the 1233 ABC Radio App.
Fox Sports coverage of the Westfield FFA Cup will return at the start of the Round of 16.