The first ever FFA Cup Semi-Final line up has been completed as Bentleigh Greens and Perth Glory joined Central Coast and Adelaide United after wins in Melbourne and Perth on Wednesday night. Both matches were dramatic, both heading to extra-time with Bentleigh coming from behind.
Bentleigh became the only non-A-League club in the draw for the Semi-Finals and, with Melbourne Victory now eliminated, will be the only team from Victoria in the Semi-Finals. Remarkably all four semi-finalists come from different states, despite New South Wales having four A-League clubs and Victoria having two.
Bentleigh managed a stunning come from behind victory to end the run of Adelaide City in an all National Premier Leagues match. After equalizing with two minutes to play Bentleigh came up in the second half of extra-time and stole the win.
Both teams were chasing history and as such were determined to not lose the match, looking to be the first NPL side in the semi-finals. That lead to a tight first half that saw few chances in the first 45.
Adelaide City were the ones who had the better chances in the first half and in the 11th minute could well have found a goal. Anthony Costa was the one who had the solid chance as he broke through several challenges and shot at goal but sent it high and wide.
While Adelaide City seemed to be the stronger side, it was Bentleigh who should have had the half-time lead as they had a golden opportunity in the 25th minute. Liam McCormick ran toward the goal, finding the ball at the by-line, with team mates open, but bizzarely chose to shoot, letting Adelaide City off the hook and being the last really clear chance for the half.
The second half saw more action and it took just three minutes for Adelaide City to hit the lead, continuing their good cup form. It was a phenomenal passing move that allowed Adelaide City to hit the lead as Matthew Halliday found Costa, who was able to send the ball for Shannon Day, sending it for Alex Rideout who was left with a simple tap-in.
That allowed Adelaide City to sit back more, continuing their tactical trend in the FFA Cup where they will take the lead and defend. But that didn’t mean Adelaide City didn’t have their chances, they still created but their focus certainly looked more defensively.
Bentleigh were spurred on by their home fans as they hunted for an equalizer but they were just unable to break down the stern Adelaide City defense. They kept knocking on the door but with a semi-final place at stake Adelaide City were determined to hold out.
The pressure kept threatening to tell and in the 88th minute Bentleigh did finally break through and got their equalizer. It came off a set-piece as Christian Cavallo sent in a corner for Wayne Wallace who got a header away, scraping it in off the crossbar to send the match to extra-time.
That completely shifted the match and Bentleigh really started to get on top and started to pressure Adelaide City. And with two minutes to play to half-time in extra-time as Patrick Avice found a loose ball, sending it for Jamie de Abreu who got inside the defense and snuck the ball past the keeper with a low and hard shot.
With the match now completely reversed, Adelaide City started to sit back, trying to hold on to their 2-1 lead and earn a place in the semi-finals. And in the second half Adelaide City had chances but they couldn’t break through Bentleigh’s strong defense, as the Greens held on for the win.
Perth Glory became the final team to make the Semi-Finals as they managed a 4-2 victory against Melbourne Victory after extra-time at nib Stadium. Perth’s chances were greatly increased in extra-time when Victory went down to ten early, going down to nine in the second half of extra-time all but killed Victory’s chances.
Melbourne Victory started the match well, despite Perth having the early possession but Victory quickly took control of the match. In the seventh minute Victory hit the lead as Fahid Ben Khalfallah ran on to the ball and fired it home quickly.
But just as Victory were getting on top they gave the lead away, after Leigh Broxham brought down Youssuf Hersi. That allowed Andy Keogh to step up to the spot and hit the penalty, which he scored, sending Nathan Coe the wrong way.
The goal didn’t seem to get Victory down as they continued to attack Perth Glory but the physicality of the match resulted in plenty of yellow cards, which would haunt them. Victory were absolutely dominant, but right before the half they took a hit as Besart Berisha came off with an injury.
The second half was much more even with both sides trying to attack, but those efforts were largely stifled by each defense. The injury to Berisha certainly took some of the sting out of the match and the chances that did come were not as clinically finished any more.
Those missed chances came to an end late in the match as Perth Glory seemingly sealed the match in 81st minute. Victory foolishly left Andy Keogh wide open at the far post, allowing him to head home a cross from Scott Jamieson.
But that wasn’t the end of the story as Melbourne Victory responded and found an equalizer right as the match headed in to stoppage time. Gui Finkler was able to send in a stunning free-kick, cutting across the face of goal and hitting the back of the net, sending it to extra time.
Seven minutes in to extra-time Melbourne Victory’s chances took a significant hit as Daniel Georgievski was shown his second yellow card. In the 102nd minute that disadvantage did hurt them as Danny De Silva was found and sent the ball in hard and low to put Glory in front.
The second half of extra-time only saw things got worse for Victory and ten minutes from time Perth Glory wrapped up the match as Jessie Marinkovic was found by Keogh, catching Ante Covic off of his line, allowing Marinkovic a simple finish. Insult was added for Victory just one minute later as they lost Adrian Leijer to a red card for dissent, sending Glory through, 4-2 winners.