Not even missing two penalties could stop Perth SC clinching back-to-back titles in WA after their 2-0 win over Armadale on the weekend.
Incredibly, Harley Orr wasted two chances from the spot for the Azzurri but it mattered little as goals to Andreas Theodosiades and Frank Furfaro secured the three points and the silverware with two games to spare.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, incredibly happy…enormously proud of all the boys,” Perth coach Ramon Falzon said.
“They’ve been putting in a hard shift since early December, so to see them actually improving from last year (is fantastic).
“We’ve just got that winning mentality, so even the next two (league) games I don’t think we’re going to let up. It’s just been instilled in the club, the culture, it starts from the president (Gary Marocchi) down … so I think we’re pretty motivated, to be fair.”
Elsewhere, Perth’s nearest rivals Floreat Athena suffered a surprise 2-1 home loss to ECU Joondalup, Balcatta and Sorrento drew 2-2 and Bayswater City thrashed Rockingham City 5-0.
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Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Olympic won the title-shootout in the nation’s capital, clinching the premiership in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 drubbing of Tigers FC.
This was supposed to be a thrilling climax to the regular season but it turned out to be a party for Olympic, who scored twice in each half to take the title.
Stephen Domenici scored a double for Frank Cacchia’s troops, while Kofi Danning and Nik Popovich also got on the scoresheet.
In other results, Canberra FC secured a top-four finish with a 3-1 win over Gungahlin United, Tuggeranong and Riverina Rhinos drew 1-1, while Monaro Panthers ended the campaign with a 3-1 win over Woden-Weston.
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Sean Ellis’s goal in the fourth minute of stoppage-time has put Heidelberg United in the box seat for the title after a 3-2 win over Avondale FC.
The Warriors went into the penultimate match of the season one point behind leaders Avondale but snatched the win – and top spot – thanks to Ellis’ late strike.
Defender Luke Byles and Adrian Zahra scored Heidelberg’s other goals meaning a win in the final round against South Melbourne will hand them the Premiership.
Elsewhere, Green Gully moved into third spot with a 6-2 drubbing of Dandenong Thunder, Bentleigh Greens drew 1-1 with Port Melbourne Sharks and Hume City overcame Melbourne Knights 2-1.
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New South Wales
Finals football began with a bang in NSW as Sydney United 58 and APIA Leichhardt emerged winners in dramatic fashion over the weekend.
In the Elimination Final, Sydney United stayed alive after disposing of Marconi Stallions 2-0 after extra-time.
Patrick Antelmi came off the bench and continued his superb finals record with a brace of goals to keep United alive and put an end to Marconi’s campaign.
The other match went the distance as APIA and Blacktown City couldn’t be split after 120 minutes with scores locked at 1-1.
APIA keeper Ivan Necevski was the hero in the shootout, denying Joey Gibbs from the spot as the Tigers won 5-3 on penalties.
Both Semi Finals will be played on Wednesday night with Blacktown City hosting Sydney United in the sudden-death clash, while Wollongong Wolves face APIA for a spot in the Grand Final.
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West Adelaide have been relegated to State League 1 after losing their final match 4-0 against MetroStars on Saturday.
Needing a win – and an Adelaide City loss – to survive, West were never really in the hunt against a MetroStars side that booked a finals spot with their victory.
It means Adelaide City survive despite losing 2-1 to Adelaide Comets, who themselves jumped into second spot by taking all three points.
Elsewhere, Raiders lost 3-1 at home against Adelaide Blue Eagles while premiers Campbelltown City head into the finals on the back of a 2-1 win over Croydon Kings.
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Devonport Strikers continue to surge towards the title in the Apple Isle after a thrilling 4-2 win over Riverside Olympic on Saturday.
The victory means the Strikers need just one point from the final three games to ensure they finish on top of the ladder.
Elsewhere, there was nothing unlucky about South Hobart’s performance as they crushed Clarence 13-1, while Keenan Douce’s long-range stunner saw Kingborough beat Hobart Zebras 3-2.
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Lions FC are just one win away from clinching the title in Queensland after another five-star display to beat SWQ Thunder.
The Lions were rarely troubled as they cruised to a 5-1 win, with Joe Duckworth scoring a hat-trick.
They hold a four-point gap with two games left to second-place Gold Coast Knights, who beat Brisbane Roar 4-0.
In other results, FFA Cup 2019 Round of 16 sides Brisbane Strikers and Olympic FC went head-to-head, with the Strikers running out convincing 4-1 winners.
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The battle for the premiership will go down to the final round after both Maitland and Edgeworth Eagles ran out big winners over the weekend.
Maitland FC maintained their two-point lead at the top of the ladder with a 3-0 win over Adamstown Rosebud, with all three goals coming in the last 20 minutes.
But Edgeworth ensured the title will go down to the wire as they thumped Weston Workers 4-1, with Aden Gardner scoring twice and ex-Central Coast Mariner Josh Rose scoring direct from a corner.
The final round sees Maitland at home against Newcastle Jets Youth, while Edgeworth, who face the Jets in the FFA Cup 2019 Round of 16 on Wednesday night, away against Lambton Jaffas.
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