League leaders Tigers FC will be out to cement their place at the top of the fledgling PlayStation® 4 NPL Capital Football ladder when they welcome the merging talent from the FFA COE to Nijong Oval.
And with the Centre of Excellence team neatly perched in third place we should be in for a tremendous match. Both teams claimed important wins on Matchday 3 with the Tigers edging past Canberra Olympic by a single goal and the FFA COE defeating Gungahlin, arguably more comfortably, than the final 2-1 scoreline suggested.
Alex Oloriegbe was back amongst the goals against Olympic with his match winning strike being his 94th Premier League in 98 games, a phenomenal strike rate and one that is sure to have the FFA COE defenders on their toes. With Nicolas Abot (three goals) and Stephen Domenici (three goals) already scoring at will in 2016 the Tigers have an abundance of attacking riches.
Tony Vidmar’s young charges aren’t without goal threats of their own and in three-goal John Roberts have a target man who possesses strength, pace and power and an eye for goal. Whilst he may not have scored in the win over the Gunners his acrobatic bicycle kick, correctly disallowed for offside, underlined his amazing technique.
Keep an eye out too for the skills of Mirza Muratovic, providing he recovers from a leg injury that forced a first-half withdrawal against Gungahlin and midfielder Marc Tokich who dictates the pace from a central position.
Gungahlin themselves will look to bounce back from the disappointment of their loss to the FFA COE by taking all three points when they welcome the CU Academy to Gungahlin Enclosed on Sunday. The Gunners showed glimpses in defeat of their potential and the Academy should provide a good test of their relative strengths and weaknesses. Without a game last weekend due to Woden-Weston FC late postponement, the Academy may be a tad under-done coming into the one and the Gunners will start as favourites.
Matchday 4 commences on Saturday evening when Woden-Weston FC and Monaro Panthers meet at Woden Park. The Panthers earned a cagey 1-1 draw with Tuggeranong United last week in a game in which they were second best for large periods. Well-structured and organised the Panthers need to be lethal in front of goal if they are to survive off the limited number of chances they have created so far this season.
The big match on Sunday sees Canberra Olympic welcoming Belconnen United to O’Connor Enclosed. Both these teams began the season with a brace of victories before succumbing to 0-1 home reverses last weekend, Olympic to Tigers FC and Belconnen to Canberra FC.
With bags of quality in both line-ups we should be in for a treat. The Blue Devils may still be without a handful of first grade players due to injury but will possibly give Taylor Beaton a first start of the season after his successful return from injury as a second half substitute against FC. Olympic will be without winger Callum Smith whose knee injury will sideline him for the year and Daniel Colbertaldo, serving a mandatory one match suspension for a dismissal against the Tigers.
The final fixture of Matchday 3 sees Tuggeranong United host Canberra FC at Kambah 2 in what is always one of the keenly fought matches. Whilst FC usually have the wood over Tuggeranong at Deakin Stadium, they are made to fight a lot harder at Kambah with Tuggeranong notoriously difficult to beat on their own patch.
United drew 1-1 with Panthers last time out whilst FC recovered from a home loss to Olympic to see off old foes Belconnen United at McKellar. As such they may be high on confidence entering this fixture.
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Woden-Weston FC v Monaro Panthers
(Woden Park, 17:30)
Sunday 24th April 2016
Tigers FC v FFA COE
(Nijong Oval, 15:00)
Gungahlin United v CU Academy
(Gungahlin Enclosed, 15:00)
Tuggeranong United v Canberra FC
(Kambah 2, 15:00)
Canberra Olympic v Belconnen United
(O’Connor Enclosed, 15:00)