Australia Cup action returns with the quarter-finals taking place this weekend. (Image: @AdelaideUnited - Twitter)

The business end of the Australia Cup is amongst us with the quarter-finals beginning this weekend, with eight sides vying to keep their dream of silverware alive.

Which sides are heading as the favourites, and which sides are looking to pull off an upset? Find out below!

Peninsula Power v Sydney United 58

After last week’s shocking cup-set against the A-League champions, Sydney United 58 will look to book their spot in the semi-finals against a tough Peninsula Power outfit.

United 58 are flying high with confidence and will feel confident in taking down any of the remaining sides in the tournament.

After a disappointing regular season campaign, United 58 have re-discovered the form that saw them sit in first place of NSW NPL for most of last season.

United 58 midfielder, Anthony Tomelic admitted the morale around the club is at an all-time high.

“After the big win we had in the round of 16 against Western United, the buzz around the club has been huge,” Tomelic said.

“We’ve made it quite a few times to the round of 16 and have never progressed past it, so to do it against the winners of the A-League is a massive achievement for the club.

“Now that our season has finished, we’ve been fully focused on the cup and our quarter-final game up in Queensland.

“We’ve seen some of the results that Peninsula has had in the cup so far and we know they are going to be a very tough opponent to beat at their home ground.”

The Power enters this match-up fresh off a convincing 4-1 over NWS Spirit – a side that United 58 lost to a matter of weeks ago.

The Queensland-association side has won seven of its last ten games, but will be feeling the effects of a mid-week victory over Gold Coast United.

The Power’s stellar league form looks likely to play a part in the result, but United 58 will give it everything they can to return to Sydney with a semi-final appearance.

Dominic Criniti

Oakleigh Cannons v Sydney FC

In the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016, the Oakleigh Cannons have been on a dream run and will be out to make the semis for the first time in history. Coming up against A-League Men’s outfit Sydney FC, the Cannons will be daring to keep their Australian Cup dream alive.

Playing in front of the Cannons faithful at Jack Edwards Reserve, the Cannons will be eager to pull off one of the more remarkable victories in recent years.

One of the strongest sides in the Victorian NPL this season, coach Chris Taylor has a few handy contributors at his disposal. Striker Wade Dekker will be one to watch, having scored 15 goals in 26 NPL fixtures this season, he’ll be hoping he can replicate his league form. Fellow attacker Joe Guest will be one to watch, he to has been one of the top forwards in the Victorian NPL this season.

Having knocked out Bentleigh Greens in the Round of 16, Sydney FC will be out to knock out another NPL Victorian outfit, with the side hungry to keep their cup hopes alive after an underwhelming 2021/22 campaign.

Having officially signed for the Sky Blues earlier in the week, fans will get a glimpse of new boy Jack Rodwell who comes across from crosstown rivals Western Sydney. It will also be a good chance for some of the youngsters to impress again, having been promising against the Greens. Youngsters Adrian Segecic and Aaron Gurd will be looking to impress again and cement a spot in the first team.

Giacomo Bruno

Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar

After both A-League Men clubs survived penalty shootouts against NPL opposition in the Round of 16, Adelaide United will be taking on the Brisbane Roar with the prize for the winner a ticket to the Semi-Finals of the Australia Cup.

Unfortunately for the visitors, it has been the off-field noise that has dominated discussion in the past week. The Roar will be keen to get back onto the field and move on from the controversy that has surrounded its handling of ostracised defender Corey Brown along with other issues that have dogged the club off the field.

On Wednesday night, fans will be treated to a masterclass in hold-up play from the likes of Hiroshi Ibusuki and Charlie Austin. Whichever striker succeeds in bringing his teammates into the game and into dangerous positions will go a long way to deciding this tie.

The Reds have the luxury of hosting this match and will be backing themselves, but the Roar can do some damage if given the opportunity. With both goals seemingly far from unbreachable and exciting attacking players on either side, this should be a fun encounter that will also give fans an insight into the upcoming A-League Men season.

Antonis Pagonis

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Macarthur FC v Wellington Phoenix

Macarthur FC progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Australia Cup for the first time after defeating Modbury Jets in the Round of 16, while Wellington Phoenix saw off last season’s A-League Men’s Premiers, Melbourne City, to book their spot in this intriguing clash.

The Bulls are raging under Dwight Yorke; they are yet to concede a goal under the former Manchester United forward and have scored 10 themselves in two matches. They also have a host of firepower, such as Lachlan Rose and Al Hassan Toure, who will look to continue their form heading into this clash.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix will be high on confidence after their 2-1 win over City. Their strike duo of Kosta Barbarouses and Ben Waine will be hoping to cause pain to the Bulls’ defence.

A host of new signings started and impressed for Macarthur in its previous match, such as Kearyn Baccus. While Barbarouses made his return at the Phoenix alongside other new faces, including former Midtjylland midfielder Bozhidar Kraev.

Both sides will use this as a chance to progress toward a trophy, while also gaining an insight into the A-League Men’s season ahead.

With plenty of key battles across the park, this will be a clash that is primed to deliver plenty of action and fight as both sides look to make the semi-finals and chase their first-ever piece of silverware.

Dylan Costa

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