Bulls and Knights to lock horns

The nation's capital is preparing for its second night of Westfield FFA Cup 2015 fever as Narrabundah and O'Connor Knights look to join first up winner ANU FC and Brindabella Blues in the next round.

Bulls gear up for shot at Westfield FFA Cup

Capital Football’s Westfield FFA Cup Qualifiers continues tonight as two more clubs attempt to join the big boys of the PlayStation 4 NPL in the next round as they dream about a shot at glory.

For Narrabundah, aka The Bulls, their opening round clash with fellow Capital League outfit O’Connor Knights presents a realistic chance of progression. The Knights will present a stern challenge for Narrabundah but it’s one with which they are familiar and, as Head Coach Mase Tate reveals, it’s one they have been preparing for.

“From day one of pre-season trials I have made it clear that I am keen for Narrabundah to have a decent Westfield FFA Cup run and the boys have really bought into this idea,” Tate said.

Narrabundah FC was established by the Spanish community in the early 1970's and although they no longer have many players with Spanish backgrounds, the club still preserves strong links to the community through the playing strip (predominantly red/blue similar to la selección) and their major sponsors, the Spanish Australian club in Narrabundah and San Churro in Woden.

“We have a fairly new squad in 2015 as we lost six or seven players from the 2014 Capital League team,” Tate revealed. “We have approximately twelve different ethnic backgrounds in our Westfield FFA Cup squad alone.”

But even with such a global base Tate is realistic about the Bulls chances.

“To be honest, there isn't much chance of Narrabundah FC progressing to the national competition but that's the beauty of the Westfield FFA Cup,” he said.

“We have the opportunity to dream of knocking out a bigger club in a one-off game. I mean how many times have we seen massive upsets in the FA Cup or the Copa del Rey in Spain?”

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Knights hoping that history repeats

The match will see Narrabundah and O’Connor Knights meet just four days after they fronted up against each other in Round 1 of the Capital League competition.

A goal from O’Connor Knights’ Nato White settled a fairly even contest on that occasion and club President Mario Kresoja is expecting more of the same this week.

“Once again we are expecting a real tough contest with Narrabundah,” Kresoja said. “That was seen just last Saturday at Kaleen Enclosed when we won 1-0.  Don’t be surprised if this goes all the way down to the dreaded penalty shootout.”

The Knights are no strangers to this competition having won the Federation Cup in 2008 with a dramatic victory over Canberra FC in a memorable denouement but with the carrot of a place in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 at stake for the successful side in the 2015 edition, it’s fair to say that this season’s tournament has just a little added incentive. As such, the Knights’ preparation under Coach Milenko Rogic has been thorough.

“We have been training since early January and are looking forward to starting the season proper strongly, including the FFA cup qualifier,” Kresoja said.  “We crashed out of this competition early last year, so we are looking to turn that around in 2015. Our aim is to improve on last year’s effort by getting past the first round and hopefully drawing a big NPL club like Canberra FC or Belconnen United.”

“We won this competition way back in 2008 and it would be wonderful for this small community club to achieve that again. You just never know, that’s the beauty of the cup, anything is possible.”

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Blues begin their Brindabella story

The magic of the Westfield FFA Cup has already arrived in the National Capital as Brindabella Blues from State League 3, the lowest ranked team in the Canberra Qualifying process, toppled their State League 1 opposition Goulburn Strikers 2-1 at Hawker Football Centre.

An 83rd minute match winner from Vince Russo handed the Blues a ticket to the next round where they will join the PlayStation 4 NPL giants and the chance of landing a plum draw.

Russo’s goal sent the Blues support into a frenzy and, despite a Strikers surge at the death, Brindabella held on for a famous victory.

There was no such Cup fairy-tale for State League 1 Canberra City in the earlier match at Hawker Football Centre as Capital League juggernaut ANU FC swept aside their opponents 9-2 with a display of pace and finishing that has seen them installed as dark-horses to spring an upset during the Westfield FFA Cup Qualifiers.

City managed to hang on to the coat-tails of their higher-ranked opposition for half an hour before a series of quick-fire University goals killed off the tie.

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Tuesday 14 April
Canberra City 2 (Phillip Mackay 23’, 57’)
ANU FC 9 (Olaide Yinka-Kehinde 18’, 41’, 60’, Jon Scott 21’, 77’, Jon Hand 28’, Chase Deans 44’, John Adamidis 49’, 75’)

Brindabella Blues 2 (Own Goal 49’, Vince Russo 83’)
Goulburn Strikers 1 (James Fry 6’)

Wednesday 15 April
Narrabundah FC v O’Connor Knights (Hawker) 8pm