The undefeated Centre of Excellence take on Canberra Olympic in the Match of the Round as a number of teams look to get off the mark for the season.
FFA Centre of Excellence v Canberra Olympic – AIS Grass Fields – 3pm Saturday
The match of the round will see the undefeated FFA Centre of Excellence host reigning Premiers Canberra Olympic as they look to extend their winning streak to three matches.
Mirza Mirautovic scored a hat-trick last weekend as the Centre of Excellence thrashed Tigers 4-0 in Cooma and Louis D’Arrigo completed the rout with a sublime free-kick in the first half.
The assertive display was one that should put the rest of the competition on notice, having scored 12 goals in three matches while conceding only once. Continuing that kind of defensive record here will be tough, with Olympic firing on all cylinders in recent weeks.
Frank Cachia’s side have scored 11 times in their past two matches in a 7-1 drubbing of Tigers FC and a 4-3 win over Belconnen United last weekend.
Stephen Domenici has found the back of the net five times across his last two matches including a hat-trick in the win over Belconnen, picking up where he left off as the top scorer last season.
Olympic were tested at the back as well though in that win, with a determined Belconnen side refusing to go away even at the end.
Featuring two sides both full of attacking intent, this matchup is likely to feature goals. If the Centre of Excellence win, it pulls them three points clear of Olympic with a game in hand, while a win for Olympic would keep them in touch with Canberra FC who are without a loss so far.
Riverina Rhinos v Monaro Panthers – Noe’ Santolin Oval – 3pm Saturday
After another dramatic stoppage-time ending in their last match, the Riverina Rhinos will again search for their first win of the season as they welcome Monaro Panthers to Griffith on Saturday.
The Rhinos have come close in their last two matches, leading Woden-Weston late into the contest before been pegged back two weeks ago, and then going ahead twice last weekend. Back at home and facing a Monaro side struggling to find form, now might be the chance for the Rhinos to get their first win.
For the Panthers, one of their best performances of the season came last weekend against Gungahlin United, but they were unable to convert that into goals as they slipped to their fourth straight loss of the season. Monaro have scored only twice this season, once last week, but may find chances a bit easier to come by against a side who have conceded 17 goals across four matches.
Belconnen United v Woden-Weston FC – McKellar Park – 5:30pm Saturday
Belconnen United will look to bounce back from their defeat to Canberra Olympic as Woden-Weston meet them at McKellar Park on Saturday night. The home side fell 4-3 last weekend in an entertaining encounter but will likely be without goalkeeper Finn Jurak this weekend after he sustained an injured finger during Olympic’s first goal. United were hardly a worse side than Olympic and will back themselves in this weekend.
Woden-Weston battled well against Canberra FC last weekend before going doing at Deakin Stadium, but with just one point this season they are still looking for their first win of the campaign.
Olaide Yinka-Kehinde was given the start against Canberra FC after his brace the week before and impressed down the flanks. He should be due for a start again this week and will trouble the home side’s wide defence with pace and trickery. With Belconnen still understrength in Round Five, the visitors may well see this as a chance to steal a road victory.
Canberra FC v Tuggeranong United – Deakin Stadium – 3pm Sunday
Tuggeranong United will search for their first win of the season at Deakin Stadium this weekend as they face a Canberra FC side aiming to make it five wins from five matches. A disciplined, patient display at Deakin last weekend saw Mark Vrkic’s side run out 2-0 winners over Woden-Weston, and Thomas James should resume his starting role following a rare substitute appearance, albeit one in which he scored anyway.
For Tuggeranong, they gave away a late lead at the AIS to the Rhinos as a stoppage-time goal stopped them short of a first win of the 2017 season. Tuggies looked strong going forward but lapsed in defense too often, despite having looked reasonably strong at the back so far. Against the league’s most efficient side they will need to make sure they are locked up at the back, and use any chances that come their way on the other end.
Gungahlin United v Tigers FC – Gungahlin Enclosed – 3pm Sunday
The final clash of the weekend sees Gungahlin United aiming to claim their fourth win in a row, against a Tigers side trying to avoid a third straight defeat. A 2-1 win against Monaro saw Gungahlin jump up to fourth in the table and they can extend the gap over Tigers to six points with a win here. Jason O’Dwyer grabbed a brace in that game and he will prove a dangerous opponent here for a Tigers defence that has been less than solid of late.
Gaby Wilk’s men need a rebound victory and will need to do it on the road here after two big home losses. After conceding 11 goals and scoring only once in that span, Tigers will come up against a side who have not conceded many so far, but have also scored the least of any side in the Top Four.
A return to the form that saw them thrash Monaro earlier in the season would be the ideal turnout for Tigers, but they will find it a tough battle against a Gungahlin side determined to keep their run of form going.