Sydney United 58 were eliminated by APIA Leichhardt Tigers while Sutherland Sharks confirmed their spot in next fortnight’s Grand Final after beating Sydney FC in extra time in a packed Saturday evening of semi-final action.
Major Semi Final
Sutherland Sharks v Sydney FC, Saturday 4.30pm at Lily’s Football Centre
Jeremy Cox booked Sutherland a place in next fortnight’s Grand Final after an extra time strike edged Sydney FC 2-1 in an intense affair at Lily’s Football Centre.
The premiers had earlier taken the lead at the start of the second half when Jake Borromeo pounced on a Sydney error but a John Iredale equalizer from the penalty spot ten minutes later saw the Grand Final qualifier forced into extra time.
An end to end extra time period saw both heavyweights go close but Cox’s effort in the 110th minute proved to be the winner and means Sutherland will entertain either opponents Sydney FC or APIA Leichhardt Tigers in the Grand Final in two weeks’ time.
Nick Dimovski’s side will likely be favourites to claim the championship in addition to a convincing premiership win and were good value for the extra time triumph despite several second half scares from Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues are set to take on APIA Leichhardt Tigers in next weekend’s Grand Final qualifier after the Lambert Park outfit’s 2-1 defeat over Sydney United 58 in Saturday’s other fixture.
Robert Stanton’s men were on the back foot early in the match when a flurry of headed chances to Harry Sutherland and Thomas Papa were gathered by goalkeeper Duro Dragicevic, but both sides enjoyed great opportunities to open the scoring before half time with Lachlan Everett’s volley coming back off the post before a Finn Ballard Mcbride effort flashed across the goal line.
Sutherland broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half after Borromeo seized on an errant pass across goal before tucking the ball into the bottom left corner.
However the Sky Blues responded swiftly and restored parity when Iredale sent Sharks custodian Nathan Denham the wrong way from the penalty spot for his 17th of the season after Samuel Mcillhatton was brought down in the area by a cluster of defenders.
Sydney went closest to stealing the match in normal time when a Jerry Skodatis free kick clattered off the crossbar following more Mcillhatton magic and nearly edged in front minutes into extra time with Denham forced into a great double save to keep out Ballard Mcbride and Iredale on the rebound.
Both sides continued to trade punches in search of a winner but the Sharks quality and experience eventually told through midway through the extra time period when substitute Jack Press and Cox combined for the winner with the latter whipping a half volley across Dragicevic from the edge of the area.
With Sutherland on course to claim both major trophies this campaign manager Nick Dimovski praised his side’s Grand Final achievement but anticipated a showdown with Sydney FC in next fortnight’s final day.
“There were two good teams playing in an important game with a Grand Final at stake and full credit should go to Sydney FC, they are a quality team and showed that today – had there been a few more minutes maybe the result could’ve gone the other way.
“I think we’ll play Sydney again – we’re good friends with Sydney with Robert Stanton being an ex-Sharks coach, but at the end of the day I’m ecstatic to guide Sutherland into the Grand Final, we’ve been the best team across 22 rounds and fully deserved today.”
Sutherland Sharks (Borromeo 50’, Cox 110’)
Sydney FC (Iredale 64’)
Saturday 26th of August 2017
Lily’s Football Centre, Seven Hills
Sutherland Sharks: 34. Jake Borromeo (37. Christian Torrelli 114’), 30. Lachlan Everett, 24. Adam Massoud (27. Harrison Quirk 86’), 33. Thomas Papa (23. Deren O’Brien 108’), 36. Matthew Stewart, 26. Harry Sutherland, 31. Robert Watson, 1. Nathan Denham, 5. Matias Da Silva Santos (7. Jack Press 55’), 8. Chris Mcstay, 13. Jeremy Cox
Substitutes Not Used: 14. Angelo Parashis
Yellow Cards: Santos 53’
Red Cards: N/A
Sydney FC: 26. Phillip Cancar, 28. Finn Ballard Mcbride (27. Cooper Coskerie 105’), 31. Paolo Bonnani, 30. Duro Dragicevic, 35. Alex Gollan, 19. John Iredale, 15. Samuel Mcillhatton, 34. Jerry Skotadis, 33. Guiseppe Tilio (29. Aaron Avery 62’), 24. Nikola Vjdur, 32. Harry Van der Saag
Substitutes Not Used: 51. David Malishev, 13. Jack Stewart, 36. Daniel Blachura
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Minor Semi Final
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2-1 Sydney United 58, Saturday 5.00pm at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers will play Sydney FC in next weekend’s Grand Final qualifier after two first half goals were enough to eliminate Sydney United 58 2-1 at Lambert Park on Saturday evening.
The Tigers struck through Gino Cerasoli and Samuel Gulisano in the opening forty five minutes and withstood a late rally from the Reds who pulled a goal back via Sam Perre in the second half.
A fractious contest threatened to spill over at times and resulted in two dismissals for Reds goalkeeper Lucas Pervan and Tigers defender Stephan Adattini as a seven match winning streak for United 58 came to an end.
Franco Consentino’s side will take on Sydney FC for the second time in three weeks having gone down 3-0 to the Sky Blues in week one of the finals.
The Tigers are yet to register a victory over their opponents this campaign and were hammered 4-0 by Robert Stanton’s outfit in their round 17 meeting and previously drew 2-2 with Sydney in round six.
–By Jacob Windon