FFA Cup 2019 Preview: Round of 16 Match Day 2
The FFA Cup 2019 Round of 16 returns with a bang with an all-Hyundai A-League clash, two all-Member Federation ties and a tantalising local derby in Sydney's west.
It's all eyes on Campbelltown Stadium as Markus Babbel's Western Sydney Wanderers travel 35km down the road from their Parramatta home ground to face former National Soccer League heavyweights Sydney United 58.
Brisbane is the hub for two of the all-or-nothing encounters, with Robbie Fowler coaching his first competitive home match after Roar dismantled Sydney FC in their own back yard in the Round of 32.
Central Coast Mariners are the visitors to Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe, while the National Premier Leagues outfit from Sydney's Northern Beaches, Manly United, head to Perry Park to face the rockstars of Brisbane Strikers.
Finally, Adelaide Olympic seek to continue their dream FFA Cup debut against competition veterans Hume City. Read on as we preview each of these titanic battles.
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
FFA Cup upsets are traditionally delivered by Member Federation clubs but Brisbane Roar arguably delivered one of the shocks of the 2019 competition in the Round of 32.
Fowler's charges were considered heavy underdogs as they travelled to Sydney to face the Hyundai A-League Champions, but goals from Stefan Mauk and Jay O'Shea either side of half-time made sure the FFA Cup 2018 runners-up would not be launching another journey to the final.
That 2-0 win will perhaps go down as a statement performance if Fowler can spark Roar's resurgence, but Alen Stajcic and the Central Coast Mariners will have designs on stopping any momentum before the wheels pick up speed.
The Mariners advanced to the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win of their own against local rivals Maitland. Michael McGlinchey's double laid the foundations for that win and Stajcic will seek to build on the Gosford boys' own comeback story and return to the Quarter Finals for the first time since 2014.
Adelaide Olympic v Hume City
It was a debut to remember for Adelaide Olympic in the Round of 32 but the stakes are raised even higher when the South Australians host a Victorian side with serious FFA Cup pedigree.
Olympic clinched a thrilling 4-3 win against Western Australia's Floreat Athena after going 2-0 down at half-time. Head coach George Tsonis' side were also reduced to ten man when two-goal hero Fausta Ebra was sent off on 66 minutes for removing his shirt in celebration, after he had restored his side's lead.
Ioannis Simosis' 78th-minute winning penalty sealed their place in the Round of 16, where they meet Hume City — conquerors of NPL Capital Football outfit Tigers FC of Cooma.
Goals from former Adelaide United youth Mark Ochieng and Ben Bowler gave the 2015 FFA Cup Semi-Finalists a 2-0 win in Canberra. NPL Victoria's last remaining representatives have seen it all before as coach Nick Hegarty's team make their third appearance in the FFA Cup Round of 16.
ADELAIDE OLYMPIC ULTIMATE GUIDE: Debutants ready to make an impression
HUME CITY ULTIMATE GUIDE: Victorian heavyweights out to show their FFA Cup pedigree
Brisbane Strikers v Manly United
The Roar are not the only team flying the flag for the River City on Wednesday night. Strikers landed a spot in the Round of 16 in dramatic fashion when goalkeeper Bon Scott's heroics sealed a 4-2 penalty shootout triumph against Hyundai A-League side Wellington Phoenix.
The home side's character shone through at Perry Park after Strikers had thrown away a two-goal advantage and Scott saved David Ball's penalty to deny the Kiwis the lead in extra-time.
Coach Owen Baker’s side will need more of the same on Wednesday night. They do come into the game off the back of a stunning 11-0 win against Magpies Crusaders, a record for an away side in NPL Queensland.
Manly United also advanced to the Round of 16 the hard way, with a 4-2 shootout win following a 2-2 draw against Mount Druitt Town Rangers. The boys from Sydney's Northern Beaches played out a 1-1 friendly draw against Hyundai A-League Champions Sydney FC last week.
Sydney United 58 v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sydney United 58 have already delivered one shock this week, dumping NPL New South Wales Premiers, Wollongong Wolves, out of the Finals Series in a stunning 2-1 triumph on Saturday.
After advancing to the state Grand Final, another upset for the boys from Sydney's west against their Hyundai A-League neighbours would cap a phenomenal week in the club's rich history.
The former National Soccer League big guns arrived at the Round of 16 in dramatic style following a 5-3 extra-time win against city rivals St George FC. Western Sydney delivered an upset of their own with a 2-1 victory at Hyundai A-League Premiers Perth Glory in the Round of 32.
Wanderers, who named Mitchell Duke their club captain on Sunday, reached the Semi Finals last year but have never made it to an FFA Cup Final. Achieving that feat in their homecoming season will no doubt be a huge incentive for Babbel's men.
SYDNEY UNITED 58 ULTIMATE GUIDE: The NPL NWS giants with potential for Cup glory
WANDERERS: The battles where Western Sydney need to build Wanderland into a fortress