Two will become one on Sunday as Tigers FC and Canberra Olympic meet in the PlayStation 4® NPL Capital Football Preliminary Final for the right to play Canberra FC in the big one.
And with everything at stake for the winners, and the end of the campaign for the losers, this fixture is already quickening the pulse. Both sides will point to the reasons why they deserve to be in the showdown at McKellar Park in a fortnight but the talking stops at 3pm Sunday.
The Tigers looked a bit flat in their 2-1 loss to Canberra FC in the Qualifying Semi-Final on Saturday afternoon, understandably so having seen their League title snatched from their grasp by Canberra FC on a dramatic last day of the regular season, and will need to pick themselves up from successive defeats. They undoubtedly have the talent to do so with a front line that has caused numerous problems for defences this term.
Led by the effervescent Alex Oloriegbe, who has nineteen goals this season, Tigers are renowned for being full of goals, but they are also susceptible to conceding as well, an area in which Olympic will be desperate to exploit. The two games between the sides this season has seen two five-goal thrillers both go the way of the Tigers with goals from Julian Borgna (2) and Jeremias Ibarra cancelling out efforts from Tom McLachlan and Nick Bobolas in Round 8.
They met again in Round 17 where Borgna and Ibarra struck again, joined on the score-sheet by Oloriegbe as Tigers again won 3-2, this time at Nijong Oval. Two players at the opposite end of their careers scored for Olympic with youngster Adrian Macor joining veteran goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou amongst the goals. Konstantinou scored again in the Elimination Semi-Final win over Belconnen United last week and has four career goals at this level to his name.
Olympic was in great form against the Blue Devils in their winner-takes-all encounter at McKellar Park and they traditionally enjoy the freedom offered by the wide open spaces of Deakin Stadium where the likes of Adam Rogic, Robbie Cattanach and the speedy Jordan Tsekenis should thrive. If Olympic can turn the Tigers back four with balls into the channels and utilise the pace and movement of their attackers they could reap rewards.
For the Tigers, Gaby Wilk will no doubt focus on the importance of dominating possession, winning the midfield battle and not getting caught on the counter-attack, an Olympic speciality. As such the experience and influence exerted by Dejan Santrac and Goran Josifovski could be crucial. What is for certain is that this will be a no-holds-barred match which will be well worth attending.
PlayStation 4® National Premier Leagues: Capital Football
Sunday 6th September
Tigers FC v Canberra Olympic
(Deakin Stadium, 15:00)
Tigers FC (possible squad): Francois BANGWENI, Liam HIGHMORE, Milan POPOVICH, Osman FOFANAH, Daniel ROBERTS, Dejan SANTRAC, Stefan TODOROSKI, Goran JOSIFOVSKI, Jeremias IBARRA, Julian BORGNA, Alex OLORIEGBE, Jose DEFILIPPI, Misko NAUMOSKI, Thai TRAN, Hussein FUREJE, Michael KITA, Tom BARTON
Canberra Olympic (possible squad): Angelo KONSTANTINOU, Daniel COLBERTALDO, Jonathan TOOLE, Bernard RENE, Robbie CATTANACH, Adam ROGIC, Callum SMITH, Tom MCLACHLAN, Nick BOBOLAS, Phil YARNOLD, Jordan TSEKENIS, Ben BASSER-SILK, Adrian MACOR, Chris NIKITAS, Oliver WIEDERKEHR, George KAZOLIS
Match Officials: Matt CROPPER (referee), Adam POWERS, Nia SOUTHWELL