Upsets, breakout stars and blackouts: FFA Cup’s top five of 2017
Another year of the Westfield FFA Cup trademark blend of stunning upsets, goals and drama is nearing its showpiece conclusion between Sydney FC and Adelaide United.
Here, we take a look back at five of our favourite moments from 2017.
BLACKTOWN PUSH WANDERERS ALL THE WAY
Blacktown City’s incredible ride almost claimed a second Hyundai A-League opponent in an unforgettable Quarter Finals epic.
Having edged Central Coast Mariners in the Round of 32, the Demons came within 16 minutes of adding Western Sydney Wanderers to their list of scalps.
James Andrew, who had earlier cancelled out Oriol Riera’s opener, famously put Mark Crittenden’s men into a 2-1 lead in stoppage time.
Rapturous celebrations at Lily Homes Stadium were eventually tempered when the Wanderers fought back to prevail on penalties, but the night’s entertainment will live long in the memory.
KING KENNY CLAIMS HIS CROWN
“We showed what we’re capable of,” ‘King Kenny’ Athiu said after a highly-impressive Heidelberg United shocked Perth Glory in the Round of 32.
He was most certainly right.
Athiu’s lone goal at Olympic Village fired the hosts past the two-time finalists and into the history books.
While the Bergers’ scintillating run eventually ended in the Quarter Finals, the story was not yet over for the South Sudanese refugee as he signed dream contract with Kevin Muscat’s Melbourne Victory.
Adelaide United blew away Melbourne Victory with a commanding second half display in their 3-0 triumph in the Round of 16.
The Reds’ finest performance of their Cup run to date was bookended by a pair of sumptuous strikes from new signings John Absalonsen and Nathan Konstandopoulos.
Danish winger Absalonsen fizzed in the first of a second half burst at Marden Sports Complex before Konstandopoulos went one better in the 89th minute, capping a fine victory over his side’s biggest rivals with a delightful curling effort from the edge of the area.
Not a bad way to get the fans on your side.
MORETON BAY BLACKOUT!
Moreton Bay United’s hosting of Queensland rivals Gold Coast City was tense enough with scores still locked at 0-0 in extra-time.
And the Round of 16 tie took an unusual twist when a floodlight failure added another layer of nerves to the occasion, briefly plunging Wolter Park into darkness.
Fortunately, a quick-thinking electrician was on hand to restore power and get the match back underway – although the home fans might have wished he hadn’t, given Sam Smith’s 108th minute penalty proved the winner for Gold Coast.
The quirks of suburban football come in all manner of surprises.
MIERZEJEWSKI MAKES HIS MARK
Mark Bosnich labelled it “wonderful” and it’s hard to find fault with the Fox Sports pundit’s description of Adrian Mierzejewski’s stellar display in Sydney FC’s Quarter Final defeat of Melbourne City.
The playmaker made a startling impression on his starting debut for the Sky Blues, notching a classy assist for the Alex Brosque goal which sealed a 2-0 win.
We’ve since been treated to glimpses of Mierzejewski’s ability in the Hyundai A-League, while at the time Graham Arnold said his star signing was operating at less than half-capacity.
And with a hamstring complaint seemingly behind him, the Pole may well be set for a starring role in the Westfield FFA Cup Final on November 21.