Melbourne City FC
Westfield FFA Cup
Venue: Morshead Park
Sydney FC


Westfield FFA Cup preview

Melbourne City FC V Sydney FC


Venue: Morshead Park, Ballarat, Victoria

KO: 7.30pm

This is arguably the tie of the entire opening round with two of the Hyundai A-League heavyweights going head-to-head.

It will be an historic night in Ballarat as City make their make their first competitive outing as a club.

John van โ€˜t Schipโ€™s side have been impressive so far in the pre-season and recently returned from a 17-day tour of the UK which included a big win over Bolton Wanderers.

In a real treat for Australian fans, new recruit Damien Duff is likely to start against the Sky Blues for his first outing for the club Down Under.

New international marquee Robert Koren is still a chance to line-up for his new side if he proves his fitness, while David Williams could also play after Foxtel A-League All Stars duty.

Sydney have been in good form of their own, warming up for the FFA Cup clash with a 3-2 win over NSW NPL club Bonnyrigg last week.

They are building nicely under new boss Graham Arnold who is keen for the club to go on a lengthy cup run.

Corey Gameiro, who scored a brace against Bonnyrigg, has been in scintillating form in the pre-season and will be a key for Sydney, who will be without marquee man Marc Janko, Shane Smeltz and Alex Brosque.

Bernie Ibini and Ali Abbas will be assessed on Tuesday following their outing against Juventus on Sunday night but Sasa Ognenovski should be right to line-up despite pulling out of the All Stars clash.

Ibini impressed Juventus coach Masimilliano Allegri โ€“ will he be the difference in Ballarat? Or can Cityโ€™s new star Koren kick off his Aussie adventure with some Cup magic?

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City go down to Sydney in Ballarat

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Sky Blues strike late to down City

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City go down to Sydney in Ballarat
City go down to Sydney in Ballarat
Sky Blues strike late to down City
Sky Blues strike late to down City

Sky Blues relieved to progress: Ibini

Bernie Ibini admitted Sydney FC were relieved just to progress to the round of 16 of the Westfield FFA Cup after a scrappy 3-1 extra time victory over Melbourne City in Ballarat on Tuesday night.

Ali Abbas scored twice from the penalty spot in the second half of extra time to give the Sky Blues victory on a chilly night in country Victoria.

It also gave Sydney early bragging rights heading into the Hyundai A-League season opener at Allianz Stadium against John van't Schip's men.ย 

Earlier in the night, Corey Gameiro capitalised on a mistake by City keeper Andy Redmayne to give the visitors an early lead at Morshead Park.ย 

Nick Kalmar equalised in the second half for City to take the game into extra time.ย 

โ€œIt was a tough game, Melbourne City gave us a tough game and weโ€™re just happy to get through to the next round,โ€ Ibini, one of the Foxtel A-League All Stars against Juventus, said.

โ€œIt wasnโ€™t the most convincing game but itโ€™s very early in the pre-season so hopefully we can get better by the next round.โ€

An understrength Sydney outfit were missing a host of stars including marquee striker Marc Janko and Ibini admitted the Sky Blues still have plenty of improvement left to do.

โ€œYeah definitely, there was quite a few players out. I played on Sunday [for the Foxtel A-League All Stars]... I had to backup on Tuesday so it was very tough for me,โ€ said Sydney's new striker.ย 

โ€œWeโ€™ve got a lot of players to come back so it will make it a lot tougher to fight for positions so we will be looking forward to that.โ€