Canberra Olympic have the advantage in the title race as Tigers FC slip to a shock home defeat to Tuggeranong United.
Saturday 13th August
FFA COE 4 (Mark Moric 15’, Jacob Italiano 28’, Mirza Muratovic 69’, Lachlan Brook 83’) Belconnen United 0
By William Bremner
FFA COE ran out comfortable winners over local power house Belconnen United 4-0 at the AIS. Belconnen, for the second time in two games, shipped four goals and their defensive frailties will be the cause for some concern to coach Dean Ugrinic.
The game started with the COE pressing forward and Belconnen seemingly willing to sit a little deeper and absorb the home team’s pressure. For the first fifteen minutes it was a tactic that appeared to be having success although Belconnen would be a little disappointed with their inability to retain possession when they were able to cause turn overs. An over emphasis on looking for the killer pass or perhaps some poor decisions meant that they were inviting more pressure than they might otherwise have been subjected to.
After quarter of an hour the game changed in favour of the home team as Mark Moric was on hand at the far post to steer home amid claims for offside. On balance there was little argument that the home team had shown enough initiative to be in front. On 22 minutes Belconnen's task was made harder when Jacob Italiano doubled the lead capitalising on some loose defending before steering home. The COE's crisp ball movement and vertical penetration complemented perfectly their intelligent and incisive movement off the ball so a second goal was not a complete surprise and meant the visitors had a significant mountain to climb.
At two down then it was imperative that they were next on the score sheet and they were presented with the perfect opportunity 39 minutes in when awarded a penalty. Young Sam Smith burst into the penalty area and his attempted cross was deemed to have been handled. The normally reliable Dustin Wells stepped up but his shot grazed the outside of the left hand post and bounced away to safety and Belconnen's avenue back into the match was gone.
Woden-Weston FC 0 Gungahlin United 1 (Marcial Munoz 39’ (pen))
Two teams with only pride to play for met at Woden Park on Saturday afternoon as Gungahlin United squeezed past Woden-Weston FC in an entertaining match in front of a sparse crowd.
A goal from the penalty spot six minutes before the break from Marcial Munoz was the difference as the Gunners claimed the three points and left Woden-Weston FC doomed to the wooden spoon.
Gungahlin’s win means they can finish no lower than seventh on the league table and may even finish fifth should they win their final match of the campaign against Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium next weekend, and Tuggeranong United drop points in their game in hand against the FFA COE.
Woden-Weston FC wrap up their season with a visit to McKellar Park to take to take on Belconnen United and will look forward to 2017 when new Coach Tony Olivera takes over and will try to resurrect a club that shows much sign of promise.
Sunday 14th August
Tigers FC 0 Tuggeranong United 1 (Andrew Slavich 78’)
Advantage Canberra Olympic. A goal twelve minutes from time, slotted in confidently by Tuggeranong United forward Andrew Slavich, dashed Tigers FC hopes of keeping the destiny of the League Championship title in their hands on a dramatic day in the PS4 NPL competition.
Slavich’s seventh league goal of the season for Tuggeranong could yet turn out to be the most important, but perhaps not the way in which the summer recruit from Woden-Weston FC expected. It settled a contest on a day in which Tigers FC held the aces heading into Matchday 18 knowing a win would heap pressure on Olympic to score a big victory over Monaro Panthers and then back-up by defeating FFA COE next week.
As it was the Tigers, shorn of a host of big names through unavailability, gave first starts of the season to youngsters Zac Schoon and Michael Kita whilst Ala Mobedi and Hussein Fureje were drafted into the line-up in a makeshift back four that looked vulnerable throughout. Tigers however, could still boast the league’s leading scorers in Stephen Domenici and Nicolas Abot, despite the absence of Daniel Barac, but some outstanding defensive displays denied them a crucial goal.
Josh Lagudah in the Tuggeranong goal made a number of vital stops and was ably assisted by Aiodan Beatman, a rock in the heart of the Tuggeranong defence. With a game-plan that worked a treat Tuggeranong claimed their biggest win of the season. But it was one that has been brewing for a number of weeks. Unlucky not to defeat Canberra FC on their own patch earlier in the season, Tuggeranong have been promising a big performance for a while now.
Unfortunately for title-chasing Tigers FC they chose Sunday for that to come to fruition. There’s still a hope for Gaby Wilk and his team. They lead on goal difference and, if the FFA COE who were mightily impressive in downing Belconnen United 4-0 on the weekend, can claim a win at the AIS, Tigers FC will be crowned Champions. For now though, they must sit and wait.
Canberra Olympic 4 (Robbie Cattanach 40’, 65’, Angelo Konstantinou 63’ (pen), Tom McLachlan 84’) Monaro Panthers 0
By David Jordan
Canberra Olympic took a huge step towards the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues: Canberra Championship on Sunday as they recorded a crushing 4-0 victory over Monaro at O’Connor. On an afternoon where ladder leaders Tigers FC suffered a shock defeat to Tuggeranong, Olympic burst into life in the second half to put themselves in prime position with a three-goal stanza.
While the home side came out firing in the first half, it didn’t look to be their day as Monaro goalkeeper Nathan Alferink played an absolute blinder in goals. Just after the half hour Olympic forward Jordan Tsekenis looked to poke home from close range only to be saved well by Alferink, before the Monaro custodian somehow found his way to keep out Robbie Cattanach’s follow up as well.
Two minutes later Alferink again pulled off a brilliant double save, denying first Cattanach and then Jeremy Habtemariam on the follow-up from close range. But with five minutes until half time, Alferink’s spell was finally broken, as Cattanach headed home the second chance after Alferink denied Tsekenis once more.
Monaro were on the back foot leading into half time and the second half started with much of the same as the visitors were forced onto the back foot early as Olympic struggled to break through. But in the 62nd minute the game turned, as Panthers defender Jarrad Bain was sent off for hauling Tsekenis down in the box. Olympic Goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou smashed the spot-kick into the roof of the net and the home side began to probe the new hole in Monaro’s defense.
CU Academy 4 (David Carder 27’, Sam Whithear 47’, Joshua Gulevski 68’, Bul Juach 80’) Canberra FC 2 (Ivan Pavlak 23’, Thomas James 48’)
(Hawker Football Centre)
By William Bremner
CU Academy have waited all season to claim the scalp of one of Canberra's top teams, previously surrendering leads against competition big guns Cooma Tigers and Canberra Olympic. On Sunday afternoon they emphatically put that record straight running out comfortable 4-2 winners over traditional power house Canberra FC.
An attractive game started with the Acsademy content to keep possession and Canberra FC content to sit back and rely on the counter. In Thomas James and Dom Giampaolo the visitors had two players of high quality who going forward pose a significant threat. James in particular was sharp in the early stages catching the opposing defence a little square and using his pace to get in behind he was causing Academy problems down their left flank. One such foray resulted in the award of a corner and Giampaolo tried a cheeky near post flick that was well gathered by Sam Brown in the home goal.
The Academy team were also effective going forward and a better touch by Bull Juach would have seen him one on one with Rory Larkin in the away goal. Chances came and went for both teams. Juach had another golden opportunity but rolled his shot wide. Giampaolo thundered a left foot shot toward goal that Brown did well to save and James, on three occasions before the half time break, tried his luck from distance to no avail.
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