Last night’s FFA Cup round of 16 certainly featured plenty of goals, however it lacked the big upset that helps make the competition so special.
In the competition’s main (televised) game, current FFA Cup holders Adelaide United overcame rivals Sydney FC 2-1 in extra time.
Adelaide probably had the better of play over 120 minutes and scored a deserved winner in the 114th minute.
Although they held a 2-1 lead in front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd, the hosts were forced to overcome a few very nervy minutes following the send-off of goal-scorer Dylan McGowan late in the second period of extra time.
Earlier in the night, Rhyan Grant had put the A-League Grand Final runners-up into the lead with a long range goal, however the goal was later cancelled out via a well worked Pablo Sanchez goal.
Adelaide now enter the quarter finals with an opportunity to defend the crowd they won in last season’s inaugural competition.
Joining them in the final eight are fellow FFA Cup finalists, Perth Glory.
Although they traveled to non A-League club, Lions FC, they were made to work extremely hard for their spot in the quarters.
The home side was gifted the chance to set up a huge boil-over after Glory keeper Jerrard Tyson was sent off inside ten minutes,
Unfortunately the resulting penalty was saved and Lions were unable to capitalise with their extra man in normal, or extra time.
Just as the game looked as though it would enter the lottery that is penalties, Chris Harold stole if for the Glory.
The Glory, although having faced a huge scare, have allowed themselves the chance to go one better than last season’s runner up effort.
In the night’s all state-league tie, Heidelberg United FC defeated the traveling Sydney United 2-0 in front of another vocal crowd.
Despite entering the game as underdogs, many expected Sydney United to overcome the odds and advance.
Heidelberg took the lead within the first minute, through former A-League star Dean Heffernan.
It took a further 86 minutes for the Melbourne side to extend their lead and kill off the tie.
Sydney United will be proud of their efforts in the competition, but after avoiding A-League competition in the round of 16, would have fancied their chances of a semi-final appearance.
Rounding out the night’s fixtures was the second all A-League game featuring the highly fancied Melbourne City and the Wellington Phoenix.
In terms of goals, this game was the highlight of the round, as Melbourne put five past their opponents as they recorded a 5-1 victory.
Marquee man Aaron Mooy converted the first of four penalties for the night before goals to Harry Novillo and Bruno Fornaroli, once again from the spot, killed the game off.
A spot kick to the Nix’s Roy Krishna gave the Phoenix faint hope before Robert Koren extended the home side’s lead to three goals.
Wade Dekker rounded out the scoring for City before Krishna failed at his second attempt from the spot.
City’s thumping win puts them into the final eight of the competition and will provide plenty of confidence for their upcoming games.
Remaining quarters to be decided next week
The remaining quarter finalists will be decided next Tuesday Night when the round of 16 wraps up with four fixtures.
A-League sides the Wanderers and Victory will be in action, while the remaining six teams will be from the state leagues.
The Wanderers travel to play on the Gold Coast to play Palm Beach Sharks.
A-League champions, Melbourne Victory will play in Sydney against the Rockdale City Suns.
Hume City FC vs Sydney Olympic and Metrostars SC vs the Oakleigh Cannons will see two more non A-League sides advance to the quarter finals.
Wanderer’s marquee off the mark
The Western Sydney Wanderers continued their impressive pre-season form with a 3-0 friendly win over Canberra United.
Italian marquee striker Federico Piovaccari opened his goal scoring account in his debut for his new side.
Mark Bridge and Brendon Santalab were the other goal scorers for the A-League side in what was described as an attacking display from the ACL Champions.
Although it was purely a pre-season game, the result and style of play will encourage fans and officials, who are looking to improve on last season’s horror ninth place finish.