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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 August 2017
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 AUGUST 2017 SPORT As the finish line fast approaches in the NPL 1 and NPL 2 seasons, a few stumbles have taken place amongst the leaders. But those in close pursuit have failed to take advantage during last week's catch-up round. Bentleigh Greens’ midfielder Trent Clulow in full flight against Hume City. PHOTO: KOSTAS DEVES Bentleigh Greens join South Melbourne and Heidelberg in FFA Cup Round of 16 Bentleigh Greens has booked an FFA Cup Round of 16 home cup tie against an ALeague opponent following a hard fought extra time penalty shoot-out win away to fellow NPL club Hume City on Wednesday night. In doing so, the club from Melbourne's south-east confirmed themselves as the member federation club with the highest number of wins in the competition's history. But the Greens needed the lottery of a penalty shootout plus some goal-keeping heroics from keeper Ryan Scott to get them over the line against a determined Hume City at a windswept ABD stadium. In fact both keepers could be said to have played their part in Bentleigh's win. Hume City keeper Michael Weier played a role in the 10th- minute when he gifted the Greens the opening goal of the match. Weier's attempted clearance was charged down and rebounded into his own net by Bentleigh midfielder Tyson Holmes. The Greens went on to dominate possession and crosses into the box in the opening half, but the complexion of the game changed in the second half when a Liam Boland pirouette led to an assist for Jayden Prasad who fired his right foot shot past Scott for Hume's 61st minute-equaliser. Thereafter, the Greens no longer looked in control of the game in a scrappy second half, although Holmes thought he'd scored a late winner only to be ruled offside. The home team came closest to winning the game in extra time when holding midfielder Daniel Clarke's penetrating run into a tiring Greens defence took him into the box and his shot cannoned off the upright. Greens won the toss and drew first blood in the penalty shoot-out when Ben Litfin sent the keeper the wrong way. Hume striker Attila Ofli missed the target altogether with his team's first penalty, before the Greens Matt Thurtell once again sent the keeper the wrong way. Then came a pivotal moment in the shoot-out when Greens keeper Ryan Scott guessed the right way to parry Jayden Prasad's shot. Dover extended the Greens' lead to 3-0 before Kaya scored Hume's only penalty goal to make it 3-1, and leaving it to Ross Honos to score the sealer by once more sending the keep- er the wrong way. The win means the Greens join South Melbourne and Heidelberg United in the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup, the draw for which took place immediately after the shoot-out. ROUND OF 16 FFA CUP DRAW: Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory South Melbourne v Sorrento FC Moreton Bay v Gold Coast City Sydney United v Heidelberg united Blacktown City v Apia Leichhardt Bentleigh Greens V Western Sydney Wanderers Hakoah Sydney v Melbourne City Bankstown Berries v Sydney FC The catch-up round could have proven potentially costly to NPL 1 leader Heidelberg United's chances of landing their first ever NPL 1 Premiership Plate and breaking the South Melbourne-Bentleigh Greens duopoly. Following their headline-grabbing win over A-League team Perth Glory in the FFA Cup, the Bergers stumbled spectacularly with a 5-1 loss away to a desperate Oakleigh Cannons team just three days later. However, with close rival South Melbourne also stumbling by losing their catch-up game to Avondale 2-0, Heidelberg still holds their fate in their hands. The Bergers need just four points from their two remaining matches beginning with Kingston City this Sunday, to clinch the Premier's Plate and complete the Premiership Cup double, thus emulating Bentleigh Greens' feat of last year. On the same day, South will host arch rival Bentleigh Greens with both teams knowing they need to win to have DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Bergers on the verge of historic trophy double a chance of catching the Bergers or at least finishing in the top two. A draw could open the door for Avondale to jump above both into second spot. Seventh-placed Oakleigh Cannons' win over Heidelberg last Friday, kept their chances of finals football alive. Their fate will depend on the outcome of their match (played yesterday) against sixth-placed Pascoe Vale with just one point separating both teams before this round. Another team with their fate in their hands is NPL 2 W leader Northcote City, despite a stumble in their last match. Northcote supporters will be hoping the week's rest during last week's catchup round will help the team return to winning ways when they host an improved Nunawading City on Saturday. Last week Nunawading did Northcote a favour by holding second-placed Moreland Zebras to a 1-1 draw during the catch-up round, enabling Northcote to have a five-point cushion going into the last three rounds. Northcote needs just two wins from their last three matches to make sure of the title and automatic promotion back into the top tier. But it won't be easy with games to come against Nunawading (home), Moreland City (away), and Sunshine George Cross (home). Victory to pay Jack Edwards a friendly visit A-League club Melbourne Victory will follow in the footsteps of rival Melbourne City and visit Jack Edwards Reserve for a preseason friendly against Oakleigh Cannons this coming Wednesday evening. Fans will get the chance to see Socceroos James Troisi and Mark Milligan in action close up, before they join the Socceroos for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Japan later this month. A number of the Cannons’ talented youth players may also get the chance to play against some of their A-League idols. Kick-off is at 7.30 pm, Wednesday 16 August at Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh.
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