Tigers FC maintain their lead at the summit of the PlayStation 4 NPL Capital Football table with a 3-1 win over Canberra FC at Nijong Oval.
Saturday 30th July
FFA COE 4 (Mark Moric 12’, Mirza Muratovic 38’, 88’, John Roberts 78’) Monaro Panthers 1 (Mark Shields 54’)
The FFA COE made a victorious return to PS4 NPL action with a 4-1 win over Monaro Panthers on a cool Saturday afternoon at the Australian Institute of Sport. Goals from Mark Moric, a double from Mirza Muratovic and an eighth of the season from John Roberts was more than enough to see off the Panthers.
Fresh from their success at the AFF U16 Championships, the FFA COE swept onto the attack from the off and took the game to the Panthers, utilising the width and the pace of the AIS grass field to their advantage as they stretched the opposition with every foray. And their bright start was duly rewarded in only the twelfth minute with the opening goal of the game.
The Panthers failed to adequately deal with a lofted free-kick into the danger area and, as Caleb Cullen-Rua half-cleared, the ball fell kindly for Moric lurking at the far post and the striker’s finish was emphatic, blasting a half volley beyond the diving Nathan Alferink in the Panthers goal. Shortly after Melad Ahmed went close to adding a second as the FFA COE threatened again.
For their part, Monaro were sporadic in their counter-attacking, reduced to long range efforts with Ed McCarthy and Alan Murphy trying their luck from range but to little avail and, as a result, FFA COE goalkeeper Matthew Sutton was left with very little to do.
Woden-Weston FC 2 (Matthew Waters 1’, Goran Milutinovic 72’) Tuggeranong United 0
Woden-Weston FC earned the bragging rights from the Southside derby as they downed Tuggeranong United 2-0 at Woden Park to claim only their third win of the season and close the gap on those above them in the table. Strikes from Matthew Waters and Goran Milutinovic did for their near neighbours in a clash that saw both teams end with ten men following dismissals for Adam De Franceschi and United’s Daniel Roberts.
The match got off to a lightning start as Woden-Weston FC took the lead after only forty seconds had elapsed. The home team won possession of the ball in midfield and released Waters out onto the right wing. The classy midfielder cut onto his left and raced clear showing admirable composure to keep his head when bearing down on goal, calmly finishing for his fifth goal of the season.
If Woden were grateful for the perfect start, they were left distraught when they were reduced to ten men as De Franceschi saw red for a lunge on Tuggeranong’s Greek forward Nikolaos Kalfas who threatened to break clear. Kalfas, who was Tuggeranong’s most potent threat, nearly levelled the contest on the stroke of half-time when his thunderous effort clattered back off the crossbar.
With a numerical advantage, Tuggeranong would have expected to kick-on, but the match was squared up on that front when Roberts was dismissed for a second yellow card offence midway through the second stanza to leave the match ten on ten and delicately poised. Woden-Weston however responded the better and they managed to score the game clinching second with twenty minutes to go.
Tuggeranong pressed for an equaliser and were caught on the counter as man of the match Waters released a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the onrushing Milutinovic who lamped a vicious drive across Josh Lagudah in the Tuggeranong goal and into the far corner to complete a memorable win for the hosts.
CU Academy 2 (Joshua Gulevski 3’, Pat O’Rourke 20’) Canberra Olympic 6 (Robbie Cattanach 31’, Adam Rogic 33’, Philippe Bernabo-Madrid 52’, 53’, 77’, Adam Neou 82’)
(Hawker Football Centre)
By William Bremner
Hawker Football Centre hosted an entertaining encounter between CU Academy and Canberra Olympic. For the hosts it was an opportunity to measure their progress against one of the form teams in the competition and for the visitors a win would see them on track for the champions title and would allow them a competitive warm up prior to their important FFA cup match in midweek. In the end the class of Olympic proved too much for the Academy as they ran out 6-2 winners but it could have been oh so different given the start the hosts made.
It took only three minutes for Joshua Gulevski to break the deadlock. A penetrating run and clinical finish caught the visitor’s cold and gave the Academy the perfect start. It was to get worse for the defending premiers on twenty minutes when Pat O'Rourke beat the offside trap and made it two. Olympic had shown enough between the goals to indicate they weren't out of the fight but Coach Frank Cachia would have been disappointed with the sleepy start. Indeed United might have done better on a couple of occasions when they found themselves in good positions beyond Olympics last line but could not provide the final pass that might have resulted in greater reward.
Enter Robbie Cattanach. On 31 minutes Olympic were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. Cattanach thundered a right foot pile driver high into the left hand side of the net leaving young keeper Sam Brown grasping at fresh air. Before that both he and Phillipe Bernabo-Madrid had chances to get on the score sheet but fluffed their respective lines. If Cattanach made up for his miss with the free kick Bernabo-Madrid would have to wait until the second half to trouble the scorers but he would do so with some style.
Sunday 31st July
Tigers FC 3 (Nahuel Guerrero 21’, Nicolas Abot 73’, Stephen Domenici 75’ (pen)) Canberra FC 1 (Ryan Keir 3’)
Tigers FC continued their march towards what they hope will be championship glory as they defeated Canberra FC 3-1 and eft the visitors with the likelihood of ending the season in fourth place. The Tigers overturned an early 0-1 deficit to claim the win which keeps them three points ahead of Canberra Olympic who still have the game in hand.
Canberra FC got off to an absolute flier making the perfect start to what was a must-win match for the visitors by taking the lead after only three minutes. Winning a corner, Ivan Pavlak floated over a terrific cross that was met by a forceful header from Ryan Keir that flashed past Jakob Cole and into the net. It set the scene for an exciting afternoon of football.
Both teams were intent on getting a grip on proceedings and chances were created at both ends of the field. The league leaders, needing a response to falling behind, got one when they equalised with twenty-one minutes on the clock. Canberra FC failed to adequately deal with a ball into the penalty area and, following a goalmouth scramble, defensive lynchpin Nahuel Guerrero was on hand to slot home the leveller.
Gungahlin United 2 (Regan Walsh 12’, Nathan Duck 83’) Belconnen United 4 (Matt Grbesa 25’, Dustin Wells 52’, Nikolas Popovich 90’, Aisosa Ihegie 90+6’)
By David Jordan
An extraordinary final five minutes at Nicholls saw Belconnen United maintain their slim hopes of the Championship as they finished 4-2 winners over Gungahlin United. Goals in the 90th and 96th minutes from Belconnen saw them pull off an improbable victory after a see-sawing encounter threatened to end in a draw.
The Blue Devils looked the better side in the early minutes of the match, however the home side slowly began to work their way back into the game, and took a deserved lead after just 12 minutes as Marcial Munoz poked the ball home from close range. But just 13 minutes later Belconnen restored parity, as Matt Grbesa fought to get the last touch on Dustin Wells free-kick into the box and direct the ball past Jason Denham in the Gungahlin goal.
The visitors had a great chance to take the lead four minutes later as Conor Nolan seemingly strolled through on goal, but was thwarted by a great 1-on-1 save from Denham. Wells smacked the crossbar with a free kick on the stroke of half-time but the sides went into the break locked at 1-1 as an entertaining second 45 beckoned. Belconnen needed only seven minutes to take the lead, with Wells involved again. A set piece was again the setting, but this time Wells made no mistake as he slotted home his strike past Denham to go ahead.
With Belconnen looking likely to kick further ahead, Gungahlin needed to chase the game, and five minutes from time found parity as Nathan Duck curled home a loose ball from just inside the box. Marcial Munoz hit the bar for Gungahlin with a curling free kick, before Belconnen raced off on the counter towards the other end. Speed machine Aisosa Ihegie picked up the ball out wide and darted into the box, and his perfect low cross found Popovich to slide home the winner for the Blue Devils.
Incredibly, the visitors weren’t finished as Ihegie picked off an errant square pass on halfway in the final minute of stoppage time before racing the length of the half to seal an incredible victory.
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