National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Western Sydney sides Sydney United 58 and Marconi Stallions both booked their tickets to the FFA Cup Round of 16 with victories in their Round of 32 games in what was a thrilling Wednesday evening of football action across Australia.
Illinden Sports Centre was the pick of the venue and yet again, Sydney United 58 were made to work for their victory against NPL 2 NSW Men’s side St George FC defeating them 5-3 in a match that had it all.
Both recently met in the TAFE NSW Waratah Cup Semi-Final with United 58 running out 3-2 winners so they knew they were in for a long night, but that didn’t seem the case early on.
The NPL NSW Men’s heavyweights thought they were home and hosed as they took a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Patrick Antelmi and Josh MacDonald.
But Wally Savor’s team, sitting in 11th position on the NPL 2 ladder, had other ideas as Musashi Kokubo pegged a goal back in the 63rd minute. Pandemonium then hit as Marcus Beattie strolled in past a weak United defence and popped the equaliser and it was game on.
With the match destined for extra-time, Glen Trifiro whipped a pin-point cross that was met by Yianni Perkatis who drove his header through Anthony Costa’s hands and it was surely viewed as United 58 winner.
A 96th minute equaliser further added to the drama on what was a thrilling encounter and it was Kokubo who scored his second putting the match into extra-time.
As hard as they tried, St George could not push any further and United 58’s class showed with Tariq Maia scoring in the 108th minute that gave his team the lead before future Australian Under 17 Joeys star Michael Ruhs sealed the deal scoring in the 112th minute to put them into the Round of 16, a fourth time in its club’s history.
TAFE NSW Waratah Cup Champions Marconi Stallions continued its wonderful run of form after handling business professionally in Tasmania disposing of South Hobart FC 3-0 at Blundstone Arena.
Stallions Captain Fantastic Marko Jesic showed yet again why he is one of the most prolific players in the NPL NSW Men’s competition scoring a double while young gun Damian Tsekenis bagging the third.
Jesic kicked things off in the 36th minute via the spot kick before adding his second four minutes later. Going into the break with a handy two goal buffer, the Stallions asserted their authority in the second shutting up shop before rising Stallions star Tsekenis got his just reward with a well taken goal.
In other matches, Hume City defeated Cooma Tigers 2-0 in Canberra, Melbourne City took care of South Australian NPL side Campbelltown City 3-1 while the Central Coast Mariners proved too tough for Northern NSW NPL outfit Maitland FC in the local derby, 2-0.