It will be a battle of first against third after newly-crowned Premiers Rockdale and United 58 confirmed they place in the decider with thrilling semi-final wins.
Rockdale was the first to earn their ticket to Marconi Stadium with a 3-0 victory against Sydney Olympic on Saturday night as they progressed to their first grand final appearance since 2013.
On Sunday it was United 58 who came out on top as they claimed a 3-1 victory against Wollongong Wolves in a drama-filled clash on Sunday to secure a second grand final berth in as many years.
It is set to be a massive week for both clubs as they prepare for the biggest game of the season.
Rockdale Ilinden 3 (Neill 29′, Wada 43′, Casella 57′) – Sydney Olympic 0 at Ilinden Sports Centre
Newly crowned 2020 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Premiers Rockdale Ilinden have booked their Grand Final ticket with a comprehensive 3-0 win against Sydney Olympic at Ilinden Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Steve Zoric’s men brought their season form into the crucial semi-final clash as they proved far too hungry for their opponents whose defensive errors ended up being their downfall.
Rockdale kicked things off with a great opening goal in the 29th minute thanks to a stunning Michael Neil strike.
It was some decent build-up play from the Ilinden back-line that saw Banri Kanaizumi launch a long ball forward that saw Patrick Savor expertly nod it through to a rampaging Neill who ripped the leather off the ball with a venomous strike sending the home fans into raptures.
Neill then turned the game on its head with two minutes remaining before the break after picking up a loose ball and playing a lovely one-two, was brought down in the box by Olympic’s Jason Madonis.
Referee Katie Patterson had no hesitation but awarded the penalty which was expertly dispatched by Japanese import Tomoki Wada.
It was a hammer blow for the Blues who went into the half knowing they needed a herculean effort in the second to get back into the match.
It wasn’t to be for Ante Juric’s men as it was Game, Set and Match in the 57th minute when young gun Jaden Casella pounced on yet another defensive blunder by Olympic.
Benjamin Van Meurs gave a poor ball away which was picked up by the elusive Amaury Gauthier. The ace marksman slipped Casella through who did well to finish a crafty move and it was then and there the hosts realised they’d be playing at next Sunday’s NPL NSW Men’s Grand Final.
The day’s earlier match in the Grade 20s Semi-Final saw Sydney FC prove too strong for Rockdale Illinden coming home with a 3-1 victory.
A brace from 16-year-old sensation Aiden Mostofi and Anton Milnaric cancelled out Nathan Manno’s goal that sent the Sky Blues into next Sunday’s Grade 20 Grand Final.
Wollongong Wolves 1 (Beattie 34′) – Sydney United 58 3 (Antelmi 15′, Trifiro 74′, Sim 84′)
Sydney United 58 have secured their second Grand Final berth in as many years with a 3-1 victory against Wollongong Wolves in a drama-filled clash at Albert Butler Memorial Park on Sunday.
In a repeat of the same game last season, United 58 was too good on the road as they once again denied Wollongong a place in the decider
It was a chaotic clash with both teams reduced to 10-men just before half-time after two separate off the ball incidents from United 58’s Patrick Antelmi and Thomas James of the Wolves.
A brilliant strike from Glen Trifiro and a clinical finish from Matt Sim in the second stanza was the difference with United 58 now set for a winner takes all clash against fierce rivals Rockdale Ilinden in next week’s decider.
Sydney United 58 didn’t hold back as they took the contest to Wollongong right from the opening whistle.
The visitors earlier pressure paid off when they were awarded a penalty after Matt Sim’s shot from the edge of the box was blocked by the arm of Wollongong defender Nikola Djordjevic.
Striker Antelmi made sure of the opportunity blasting the ball into the back of the net from the spot to give United 58 a 1-0 lead after only 15 minutes.
Despite falling behind the home side were not to be written off and found an equaliser through Marcus Beattie ten minutes from the break to level the score at 1-1.
The pressure was rising as the match closed in on half-time with the difficult conditions and physical play getting players on edge.
Tensions boiled over in the 38th minute with the game exploding into chaos after dirty play off the ball by Antelmi and Wollongong’s Thomas James caused an all in-brawl.
The moment of madness proved costly for both sides with Referee Michael Weiner brandishing a straight red card for both Antelmi and James that reduced the two teams to ten-men.
Wollongong raced out of the block with Okada driving the home side’s attack forward.
The home side was desperate for an equaliser but struggled to find the finishing touch required.
A moment of brilliance from Trifiro gave the visitors the lead in the 74th minute when the midfield fired a rocket into the top left corner from the edge of the penalty box.
The Wolves season was on the line and they pushed ahead in search of an equaliser.
But again the United 58 counter-attack was too much with Sim finding the back of the net after a brilliant cutting pass in behind the backline to stretch the visitors lead to 3-1 with only minutes left in the match.
It proved to be the final blow for United 58 with the final whistle confirming their place in the grand final and the end to Wollongong’s season.
In the day’s earlier match Blacktown City confirmed their place in the U20’s grand final with a 3-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers.
They will take on Sydney FC in next week’s U20’s grand final.