Can Cooma maintain their spot at the top or will there be a new pacesetter after Round 13 of National Premier Leagues: Capital Football?
Saturday 26th July
Tuggeranong United v Cooma Tigers (Kambah 2-1)
League leaders Cooma Tigers will be out to stamp their authority on the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football competition by taking three points off Tuggeranong United at Kambah 2. And with United in the middle of a poorly-timed form slump, they depart for their FFA Cup Round of 32 tie with South Hobart after next weekend’s game against Monaro Panthers, there appears to be no better time to be facing Tuggeranong.
Cooma don’t always like the tight surrounds of Kambah however and if the home team can get off to a good start they could be in with a shout of ending the Tigers’ impressive nine match winning streak. Gaby Wilk has introduced a steely edge to compliment the silky skills of his many creative ball players with the return of Cristobal Soza adding depth and strength to the team with the best defensive record in the league. Going forward they have a unit to be feared with Robbie Cattanach, Stephen Domenici and Goran Josifovski being joined amongst the goals by promising talent in Julian Borgna and Jordan Lando.
Tuggeranong will need to a get a grip of the midfield area in this fixture if they are to stop this potent attack from firing. Do just that and they could spring a surprise.
Sunday 27th July
FFA COE v Canberra FC (AIS)
Canberra FC appears to have rediscovered its form in recent weeks with convincing wins over Tuggeranong United (3-1) and Woden Valley (5-1) putting them within striking distance of league leaders Cooma Tigers should the current pace-setters slip up between now and the end of the campaign. In order to keep that pressure on however, Canberra FC requires maximum points from all their remaining games, starting with a tricky looking test against the FFA COE at the Australian Institute of Sport.
FC will enter the game as favourites against the youngsters from the Institute who have enjoyed a rocky start to life in the NPL. They have shown some superb football in patches and an aggression and determination that has surprised many observers in the local competition. They will need to summon all of that energy and application in order to down an FC side that has found a new lease of life under Andy Bernal.
Bernal continued to introduce young talent to his team last weekend with Anthony Giorgi and Marko Vrkic coming off the bench against Woden, the former scoring the final goal of the match.
Whether Bernal will continue to use the young brigade, including Benjamin Van Meurs and Alex Tilley, or switches to the more experienced heads for this match, could well decide the outcome of the contest.
Woden Valley v Canberra Olympic (Kaleen Enclosed)
An important 4-1 victory over Tuggeranong United at O’Connor Enclosed last weekend has ensured that Canberra Olympic has their destiny in their own hands heading into the final rounds of the season having opened up a gap on the chasing pack and sitting in fourth place on the ladder.
Olympic will be out to consolidate, or better, their position on Sunday as they travel to tackle Woden Valley in Round 14 of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football competition. Encouragingly for Olympic their strikers Mark Shields and Daniel Barac appear to be forging an understanding and a partnership that could cause issues for the rest of the competition if they can continue in the same vein as they did in Round 13 where a hat-trick from Shields, taking him to ten for the season, and a goal from Barac did the damage.
Woden will be well aware of what Olympic has in their locker however and Mitch Stevens will try and implement a game plan accordingly. Their efforts against Canberra FC in the 1-5 loss were undone by some sloppy mistakes and some poor luck, a penalty, deflection and own goal helping FC to victory. Woden has the style and tenacity to make life difficult for Olympic. The only question is whether they can create and take the chances that would give them a result.
Belconnen United v Canberra City (McKellar Park)
It’s turning into a three-way battle for the title at the top of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football league ladder and Belconnen United, currently third on goal difference and two points off top, could find themselves anywhere between first and the same position depending on results after the final whistle of their Round 14 match-up with Canberra City.
A few weeks ago this would have been inked in as a dead-cert home victory as City struggled for form and had one point to their name. A remarkable last week in the NPL however has seen the Yellow Submarine emerge from the depths with a brace of victories, 5-3 over Tuggeranong United and 1-0 over the FFA COE, to give them a chance of escaping off the bottom of the table. As such, maybe the Blue Devils will enter this fixture a little more wary of their opponents than they may have been.
The return of Luke Gibson to the City side has come at the right time for Nick Palagyi with the tenacity of the wide player a major influence on their last two positive results. Belconnen, at home, are a tough assignment for any team and with the Blue Devils accelerating towards the finish line the home fans will be expectant of a success. City will be out to spoil the party once more.
Click here to view the ladder and leading goal scorers going into Round 13.