Final four set to battle it out in the ACT

The Magic of the Cup is back in Canberra this week with the final four clubs left standing fighting it out for a place in the Australia Cup Qualifying Final on Saturday 4 June at Deakin Stadium for the right to play on the national stage at the Round of 32.

For two of the four clubs a spot in the final would be uncharted territory, indeed for the O’Connor Knights this is the furthest they have ever travelled in the competition having only previously reached the Quarter Finals.

They travel to West Canberra Wanderers on Wednesday evening, a trip to Wanderers Park at Melrose Synthetic, the obstacle standing between them and a shot at representing Capital Football in the big time.

With the Knights riding the crest of a wave on their return to the National Premier League this season, and the Wanderers having only picked up a single point from five matches played in the competition, the smart money is on the O’Connor outfit to progress to the big dance.

However, we all know that in cup football form goes out the window. The Wanderers, on their own patch, are a tough nut to crack. League Champions Tigers FC found that out a few weeks back, emerging with a 1-1 draw, whilst Canberra Croatia, the most decorated club in Canberra, were sent packing in Qualifying Round 4. It should be a close one.

Two teams that have more recent success in this competition met the night before and the Riverside Stadium in Queanbeyan should be bouncing when Canberra Olympic cross the border to take on Monaro Panthers.

The Panthers were beaten finalists last season, going down 2-5 to Tigers FC at the final hurdle and therefore might have unfinished business to attend to. Their Head Coach, Frank Cachia, knows all about their opponents having taken Canberra Olympic into the national rounds twice when he was in charge at O’Connor.

Olympic, of course, reached the semi-finals in 2016, bowing out to Sydney FC and will be keen for a repeat taste. Panthers have the psychological advantage, they defeated Olympic 4-1 as recently as Saturday afternoon, but league form might just be irrelevant come Tuesday under the lights.

Both Australia Cup Qualifying Semi-Finals will be broadcast live on BarTV Sports.


Tuesday 17 May
Monaro Panthers v Canberra Olympic
(Riverside Stadium, 7:00pm AEST)
Live on BarTV Sports Football
Commentary: Russ Gibbs & Steve Forshaw

Wednesday 18 May
West Canberra Wanderers v O’Connor Knights
(Melrose Synthetic, 6:30pm AEST)
Live on BarTV Sports Football
Commentary: Russ Gibbs & Michael Zakoski

IMAGE: Soccer Snaps by Sal