27/05/2024

Australia Cup continues this week, with quarter final spots up for grabs. (Image: Adelaide United FC)

The Round of 16 continues this week, with eight sides vying for their spot in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Which sides are still hoping to keep their dream of clinching silverware alive? Find out below!

Oakleigh Cannons v Brisbane City

Since defeating Bonnyrigg in the Round of 32, Oakleigh has had a victory against the Melbourne Knights sandwiched between losses to Bentleigh Greens and St Albans Saints in NPL Victoria.

While not the best run of form, this could be offset by the home-ground advantage Oakleigh will enjoy, given what happened in the Round of 32, where the side struggled until the second half.

Injuries could play a part for Oakleigh, especially since some of its injury replacements are Cup-tied and unavailable to play for Oakleigh in the Australia Cup.

If Oakleigh wants to advance into the quarter-finals, it will need a full team performance, and maybe a little bit of luck.

For the visiting Brisbane City, it has won three of its past four games in NPL Queensland competition since beating Cockburn City in the Round of 32 and will bring a wave of momentum to the only all-NPL fixture on the docket for Wednesday night.

Two players to keep an eye on for Brisbane will be Kye Bolton and Yuta Hirayama.

Bolton comes into this fixture having scored seven goals in the last four NPL Queensland games, including a hat-trick.

For Hirayama, he scored a brace in his most recent outing on the weekend, as well as in that match against Cockburn.

If Brisbane City is to leave Victoria with a spot in the quarter-finals, Bolton and Hirayama will need to be at their absolute best.

Steven Poletti

Adelaide City v Adelaide United

Nearly 20 years after Adelaide United was created to fill a South Australian-sized hole left in the NSL, the Reds will be taking on the side it replaced on the national stage, Adelaide City, in a competitive senior match with an Australia Cup Quarter Final spot on the line. The sides may be in separate football worlds but they are as interconnected as ever.

In the Red corner, former Adelaide City Champions Asad Kasumovic and Lachlan Barr will be plotting their former side’s downfall. Meanwhile, City has a stack of former Young Reds players such as Jai King, Daniel Bressan, Aladin Irabona, Zak Waters, Dakota Ochsenham, and Charlie Devereux playing with chips on their shoulders.

The history extends past the white lines, Adelaide United’s coach Carl Veart a former Adelaide City star and City’s Paul Pezos the face of Adelaide United’s NPL side for years, even Adelaide City Chairman Greg Griffin used to own the Reds.

A matchup like this defines the ‘Magic of the Cup” slogan and even though it is currently only a possibility for one night, the eventual introduction of a National Second Division may change that and this game will be looked back on for years to come.

The A-League side will be backing itself for a win on Wednesday, but if it does not treat City with the respect it should command, a cupset of staggering magnitude will be felt around Australia.

Antonis Pagonis

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Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix

Melbourne City comes up against a familiar foe on Wednesday night when they take on fellow A-League Men’s outfit Wellington Phoenix at Casey Fields.

It will be an intriguing fixture, as City have had the wood over the Nix in recent times, not losing to the New Zealand based outfit since 2020, going unbeaten in their past five meetings. While City will be out to keep the streak running, the Nix will be just as eager to buck the trend as they look to clinch their first piece of silverware.

Socceroo Jamie Maclaren will be one to watch, with the striker having been the heart of City’s attack. Coming off another great campaign, he’ll be looking to get himself up and firing again. As will youngster Marco Tilio, with the attacker/winger proving to be a revelation the past 12 months for his side.

Coming off a 4-0 victory over Devonport City Strikers, the Nix will be coming up against tougher opposition. Having had an offseason in which they lost crucial players, the Nix once again found replacements to fill the void, with signees Bozhidar Kraev and Kosta Barbarouses looking promising. The duo will be ones to watch for Wellington.

Giacomo Bruno

Avondale FC v Brisbane Roar

With the first giant killing taking place last weekend, Avondale FC will be anticipating they can pull off the second one when they face A-League outfit Brisbane Roar at their spiritual home Avenger Park.

Having won just two of their past five NPL fixtures, the Avengers will be hoping their inconsistent NPL Victoria form won’t translate in their cup tie.

Liam Boland and Manyluak Aguek will be the ones to watch, with the two proving to be capable goal scorers in the NPL this season. The Avengers will be hoping the duo will also find the goals in their upcoming cup tie.

Brisbane Roar has already knocked out one Victorian NPL side in the cup and will be out to take out another in the Round of 16. The Roar have had a bright start to the season, putting in an encouraging performance against Leeds United in a friendly, before comfortably taking out Heidelberg weeks later. 

New signees Charlie Austin and Riku Danzaki will be ones to watch, with the duo adding much-needed experience to the youthful Roar outfit.

Giacomo Bruno

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