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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 May 2017
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 MAY 2017 SPORT Midweek Cup matches to determine National Stage contestants DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Rd 13 NPL league action from the Grange where Kingston City hosted South Melbourne. PHOTO: KINGSTON CITY FACEBOOK The FFA Cup takes centre stage in the coming week with the winners of the four Rd 7 matches qualifying for the national stage of the Rd of 32 of the FFA Cup. Three of those ties involve an NPL 2 club taking on an NPL 1 club so an upset is a possibility. The other quarter final sees two highly rated NPL 1 teams, Bentleigh Greens and Green Gully battle it out for a place in the Rd of 32. But before those ties all the eight sides still involved have NPL matches to contest this weekend. No doubt a few coaches will be weighing up selection and tactical options as they try to manage the two important matches. Heidelberg United last week scaled the top of the NPL table for the first time this season after their 2-1 home win against Bulleen Lions. Coming into this round the Bergers faced the prospect of two Greek derbies in six days beginning last night with a visit to Port Melbourne Sharks. This will be followed on Wednesday night with the Cup tie against local rivals Northcote City at Jack Edwards Reserve. Another team on the way up is reigning champion South Melbourne who have won five of its last six matches, the most recent being a 2-1 win away to Kingston City last Monday. Expect South to be too strong at home for Bulleen Lions this Sunday. South has the luxury of hosting Wednesday night's FFA Cup tie against NPL 2 E league leader Dandenong City. The Lakesiders' attacking option have received a boost by the recent signing of Stefan Zinni, with the promise of more signings to come. SMFC A-League advisory board chairman Bill Papastergiadis said on SEN radio during the week that South is "looking at 2-3 other players we're going to announce pretty soon to bolster the squad." When asked which of the two competitions the club would prioritise, he replied, "Our coach is confident we can do both. He's expressed a desire to go all the way in both comps. Obviously no NPL club has gotten through to the FFA Cup final. A couple have made it to the semis. We had a slow start basically due to the fact we were a homeless club due to Lakeside being off limits because of the Grand Prix. It dislocates the club enormously. We're gathering steam, building the depth of the squad that will be not only for this competition but hopefully the bare bones of an A-League squad as well." Bentleigh Greens and Green Gully's coaches won't have to go scouting their opponents before their Cup clash on Tuesday evening at Kingston Heath, as the two teams will meet in the league at Gully today. Third-placed Gully go into both matches full of confidence on the back of consistent performances with only one defeat in their last 12 games. Bentleigh on the other hand are sitting fourth on the table with just one win from their last five matches. The last month has been difficult for the Greens with some tough opponents and a side hit by injuries and suspensions to key players, particularly in defence. The last league match of the round sees another Greek derby, down at the Grange Reserve in Clayton where Kingston City will host neighbours Oakleigh Cannons on Monday evening. City have hit a rough patch of late winning just one of their last seven matches and sliding to 10th on the table after having knocked on the door of the top six earlier in the season. They've also lost striker Sean McIlroy due to Visa issues. McIlroy scored the last time these two met in the opening round of the season when City fought back from 2-0 down late in the game to take a point off the Cannons. The Cannons will take solid form into Monday night's match being undefeated in their last five matches and climbing to seventh place on the ladder, just one point out of the top six with a game in hand. In NPL 2 action this weekend, League leader Northcote City will warm up for their cup tie against Heidelberg, with a visit to Sunshine George Cross today. Northcote extended their lead at the top last week to 12 points despite a 1-1 draw against Moreland City last week. Fifth-placed Brunswick City travels to fourth-placed Melbourne Victory while a resurgent Box Hill United faces a difficult opponent away in third-placed Melbourne City.
13 May 2017
27 May 2017