FFA Cup: rivalries and revisiting history

On the tenth anniversary of the kick off to the Hyundai A-League on 26 August 2005, the two teams who finished first and second on the inaugural A-League ladder battle for a place in the last eight of the 2015 Westfield FFA Cup.

Adelaide United v Sydney FC, Coopers Stadium Adelaide

Cup preview: Adelaide United v Sydney FC

All five of the Adelaide United-Sydney FC matches from the 2005/06 season were epic - with never more than a goal between the teams, right down to the major semi final playoff where Sydney FC ended victorious 4-3 on aggregate to earn 2006 Grand Final hosting rights.

In the tenth and most recent A-League season, Sydney FC again met their Adelaide foes at the finals stage, and it was the sky blue team that took out another Grand Final qualifier in May 2015 with a comprehensive 4-1 win over the Reds.

But overall in the A-League it is Adelaide United which have the upper hand with 15 wins from 33 confrontations, just ahead of Sydney's 13 victories.

And in the first Westfield FFA Cup last year, Adelaide emerged winners in a memorable quarter final clash, Bruce Djite scoring twice in extra time to down Sydney FC 3-1 at Allianz Stadium.


Lions FC v Perth Glory, Perry Park Brisbane

Cup preview: Lions FC v Perth Glory

While there is not much of a connection between these teams, who are meeting for the first time, a truly historical aspect of the Lions FC - Perth Glory match lies in its setting: Perry Park in Brisbane.

The Bowen Hills venue hosted the first two National NSL Cup finals, in 1977 and 1978. In both of these editions Brisbane City took out the Cup final, over Marconi in 1977, and Adelaide City the following year.

In 1981 it was Lions' turn for National Cup final glory, winning 3-1 over West Adelaide again at Perry Park.

And so in the first five NSL Cup competitions Brisbane teams took out the winners' title (at Perry Park) three times, a remarkable achievement in an era where more fancied clubs from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide were dominating the NSL league seasons.

Lions ultimately took part in 12 NSL Cup competitions, between 1977 and 1996. In addition to its 1981 triumph, the Richlands-based club made it to the semi final stage in 1980 and 1982.

Perth Glory of course reached the final of the one and only previous Westfield FFA Cup season, losing to Adelaide United in a tense 2014 decider.



Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix, AAMI Park Melbourne

Cup preview: Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix

Two A-League teams who weren't there when the competition started in 2005 have nevertheless been able to establish some enmity between them.

Wellington were the victims of Melbourne City's biggest ever win in the A-League, a 5-0 win in the Phoenix's own backyard in February 2014 with David Williams smashing his way to three goals throughout the game. This remains the biggest win by any Australian team in the A-League on New Zealand soil.

Melbourne City's next trip to Wellington however was a completely different story, with that match later in 2014 going the way of Phoenix 5-1. This was ironically Melbourne City's all-time (equal) biggest loss in the A-League. It was Nathan Burns' turn to be the hat-trick hero that day, early in the 2014/15 season.

The two teams again met in the elimination final, Wellington the hot favourites in the Westpac Stadium encounter. However it was the visitors who came, saw and conquered that day with a decisive 2–0 win to put to a sudden halt a promising 2014/15 A-League season for the Phoenix. The New Zealanders have quickly earned an opportunity for revenge in the 2015 Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16.


Heidelberg United v Sydney United 58 FC, Olympic Village Melbourne

Cup preview: Heidelberg United v Sydney United 58

Despite the coming together of two non A-League teams, there's a decent history between these sides, stemming from NSL times.

The two teams had a similar NSL experience - Heidelberg United playing out a 17-year stint in the national league (1977–1995), and Sydney United playing for 21 seasons (1984–2004).

Heidelberg and Sydney United met 13 times in NSL days, with the Sydney team holding the slight advantage with six wins to Heidelberg's four.

However their first encounter at national level took place in the old National NSL Cup in 1987, Sydney Croatia as they were then called taking out the tie on penalties in the semi-final match.

Ultimately Croatia went on to win the 1987 Cup, with goals from Robbie Slater (first leg) and Graham Arnold (second) helping the Sydney side to a 2-0 win on aggregate over South Melbourne in the final.

In 1993 it was Heidelberg's turn to win their one and only National Cup title, defeating Parramatta Eagles 2-1 in the decider at Marconi Stadium.

The last time Sydney United visited Olympic Village was in January 1994, when they inflicted a 3-0 defeat of Heidelberg in the 1993/94 NSL season.


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** For any goal scored by an amateur or semi-professional club against a Hyundai A-League team during the Westfield FFA Cup, NAB will kick-back $2,500 to the goal-scorer's club.