A rematch of the finals week one epic between Sydney United 58 and APIA Leichhardt Tigers will decide who will take on Sydney Olympic in this season’s National Premier Leagues NSW Grand Final on Sunday September 9.
It will all go on the line on Saturday night at Sydney United Sports Centre with defeat signalling the end of the season for either APIA or United 58.
These proud clubs have their eyes focused on grand final glory, but first they must make it through what is set to be a grueling contest.
Sydney United 58 v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 7.30pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
There are no more second chances as Sydney United 58 and APIA Leichhardt Tigers fight it out for the last spot in this season’s National Premier Leagues NSW grand final.
There won’t be any love lost as these fierce rivals go head to head in a rematch of their clash from week one of the finals series.
United 58 come into this game after a one sided 4-0 thumping at the hands of Premiership winners Sydney Olympic and will need a big bounce back performance to return to the winners circle.
APIA on the other hand are in inspired form thrashing Rockdale 8-2 in last week’s minor semi-final only days after their shock 3-2 win against A-League Champions Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup.
After their penalty shootout win against APIA in week one of the finals, United 58 were given a swift reality check by Olympic.
The 4-0 loss would’ve not impressed coach Miro Vlastelica who now has to find a way to get his team firing on all cylinders once again.
Reds shot stopper Thomas Manos was almost unbeatable in his last game against APIA but had a hard day at the office last week.
How the young keeper rebounds will have a big say in his side’s chances against a rejuvenated APIA attack.
Chris Payne was free to play last week after his red card was rescinded for a case of mistaken identity and he will be once again free to play.
The striker’s ability to press and challenge the APIA defence had them struggling in their last clash with Vlastelica sure to employ this strategy again.
Payne will need to be at his best in finishing off goalscoring opportunities, something he failed to do last week against Olympic so expect a big match from the tough attacker.
Two big wins on the trot have APIA beleiving in themselves again and it shows.
Japanese striker Tasuku Sekiya seems to have truly taken the weight of APIA’s attack and the midfield is once again firing on all cylinders.
The Tigers’ experienced midfield has shown both brute force and panache in recent performance which could be a far tougher challenge for United 58 to conquer this time around.
United 58 and APIA have met in the league three times this season including The Red’s 5-3 penalty shootout win from the preliminary semi-final.
That result went against APIA’s dominance during their two meetings in the regular season.
In Round 9 APIA claimed the victory with a 1-0 win before thrashing United 58 6-2 in the reverse fixture at Lambert Park in round 20.
Both sides are as hungry as ever to lift the Championship trophy so expect a fierce encounter that is set to go down to the wire.
Sydney United 58: Manos, Gonzales, Roberts, Payne, Sim, Perkatis, Cole, Stavroulakis, Maia, Trifiro, Fragogiannis
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: Necevski, Millgate, Galimi, J Symons, Fondyke, Parisi, Muata-Marlow, S Symons, Ucchino, Sekiya, Guilisano