Belconnen United jumped into second place, while Canberra FC, Gungahlin United and Tigers FC all claimed important wins in the context of the finals.
Riverina Rhinos 0 def. by Tigers FC 1 (Abot 6’)
Tigers FC picked up an important three points in the context of the finals with a 1-0 defeat of the Riverina Rhinos in Griffith.
As the first game of the round it was up to Tigers to set the pace of the teams in the finals hunt, and they were off to the perfect start after six minutes when Nicolas Abot put his side ahead with a delightful finish.
The sides traded chances as the half wore on, with the Rhinos pushing back against the visitors as they looked to pick up points at home. Shortly after half-time the Rhinos were given a big chance to take the game as Osman Fofanah was sent off for a second yellow card offence, giving the Rhinos a man advantage.
But they were unable to make the most of it, and found themselves back at square one not long after as Darren Bailey was dismissed himself for a second yellow as well and the man advantage was gone. The match petered out in the final 25 minutes with neither side really pushing the envelope and giving the Tigers a 1-0 win.
The result still has Tigers three points outside the four after wins for Canberra FC and Gungahlin, but gives them good momentum heading into a heavyweight clash with Canberra FC next weekend.
Belconnen United 2 (Jason Ugrinic 31’, 42’) def. Tuggeranong United 1 (Fernando Jorquera 18’)
A come-from behind win at McKellar Park has put one foot firmly in the finals door for Belconnen United as they jumped to second place against Tuggeranong on Saturday night.
Both sides struggled to begin the game as they handed over possession and struggled to create chances, but the visitors found the first chance of the match just after the quarter hour mark. Aisosa Ihegie was felled next to the sideline on the right hand side, and Fernando Jorquera unexpectedly went for goal with an audacious attempt that swerved and fizzed only just over the top corner.
But minutes later they had the lead anyway, as a through ball deflected into the path of the Chilean striker who took a touch round Finn Jurak in goal and netted to put his side in the box seat.
Daniel Fabrizio had a chance for Belconnen shortly after but blazed it well over the goal, and Alex Oloriegbe scored for Tuggeranong only to see it ruled out for offside, and the lead remained at one goal.
The hosts continued to push for an equaliser and found it after 31 minutes, as Jason Ugrinic pounced on a rebound from a corner to fire home and restore parity. Six minutes later Daniel Fabrizio went down in the box under pressure but had his appeals waved away, and Dustin Wells smashed an effort into the underside of the bar at the back post.
The hosts found the lead three minutes before the break as Ugrinic converted from the penalty spot after Fabrizio went down in the box as he was challenged by Rory Larkin.
Tuggeranong had another chance just before the break as Ihegie evaded a defender and flicked the ball over the top but Jurak beat him to the drop of the ball.
With the hosts leading 2-1 at the break it was all to play for in the second half, but both sides seemed more subdued than in the first period.
The best chance of the half came as Ihegie broke away beyond the home defence and rounded Jurak with a touch, but his shot from a tight angle cannoned off the upright and out for a goal kick.
The result helped Belconnen United into second place on goal difference while Tuggeranong now sit five points outside the top four, with a clash against Woden-Weston up next weekend.
Canberra Olympic 3 (Nicholas Bobolas 15’, Stephen Domenici 29’, Jeremy Habtemariam 90+2’) def. Woden-Weston 0
Canberra Olympic moved a step closer to a second consecutive PS4 NPL Premiership with a convincing 3-0 win over Woden-Weston at O’Connor on Sunday afternoon.
Olympic came in off their midweek FFA Cup loss in Perth while the visitors were looking to rebound from going down to Belconnen United last Saturday. The Wanderers struggled to get into the game early as Olympic had chances through Josh Gulevski and Michael John before going ahead in the 15th minute as Nicholas Bobolas headed home at the back post from Tom McLachlan’s corner.
The hosts continued to control the game and just short of the half hour mark Stephen Domenici was brought down in the area and he stepped back up to convert from the spot for his 20th goal of the 2017 campaign.
Domenici had another chance shortly after as Robbie Cattanach fed him through but he pushed his effort wide of the goal.
Down 2-0 at the break, the task only got tougher for Tony Olivera’s side in the second half as Conor Nolan was dismissed for two yellows; the first for a tackle on Daniel Colbertaldo and the second shortly after as he protested the decision.
The half continued to be a scrappy affair as neither side stood out, but Robbie Cattanach hit the post late on with a good chance, before he played Jeremy Habtemariam through in injury time to slot home and seal the match.
Woden-Weston will face Tuggeranong United next weekend with finals now out of the question despite a vastly improved second half of the season, and Canberra Olympic will take on Gungahlin United as they look to continue their winning run.
Gungahlin United 2 (Jason O’Dwyer 59’, Augustine Bangura 61’) def. FFA Centre of Excellence 0
An important home victory from Gungahlin United on Sunday has helped push them right back up into the finals envelope with three weeks left of the season.
Full report here.
Canberra FC 5 (Kofi Danning 43’, Domenic Giampaolo 74’, 84’, Niko Kresic 86’, Sebastian Summersby-Mitchell (OG) 64’) def. Monaro Panthers 0
A second half onslaught from Canberra FC helped get their finals hopes back on track with a 5-0 win over the Monaro Panthers at Deakin on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides started evenly and created chances of their own but struggled to make them count as the match swung back and forth. Monaro suffered a rough blow after 25 minutes as Ed McCarthy was substituted off with an injury after a strong start, and Canberra FC rubbed salt in the wounds just minutes before the break as they took the lead.
A break down the right hand side saw the ball squared back to Kofi Danning, and the forward made no mistake as he tucked the ball home past Nathan Alferink in goals.
Up a goal at the break the hosts continued to push, and hit the bar five minutes into the half as another chance threatened. But they would have to wait only until the 64th minute for their advantage to double as Sebastian Summersby-Mitchell turned the ball into his own net in defence.
Domenic Giampaolo entered the game for Niko Kalfas two minutes before the second goal, and his impact was almost immediate. He raced onto a through ball with fifteen minutes to go and calmly finished to extend the home lead to three goals, before doubling his own tally ten minutes later with another good goal.
The Panthers were under intense pressure and struggling to work the ball out past Canberra FC’s press, and Niko Kresic completed the damage two minutes after Giampaolo’s second as he scored to seal the match at 5-0 for the hosts. The win keeps Canberra FC in fourth, now only one point off second spot three weeks out from finals, and leaves Monaro winless still in the dying stages of the season.