Sydney FC and Western Sydney made their debuts in the FFA Cup on Tuesday night, with the Sky Blues scrapping past Melbourne City in extra-time and the Wanderers crashing out to Adelaide City.
It was Graham Arnold’s first official game in charge of Sydney FC, against a reborn Melbourne City outfit that hosted the match in Ballarat.
Corey Gameiro opened the scoring for the away side in the first-half after goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was left stranded outside his box. The winger latched onto a quick counter-attack, calmly slotting the ball home from distance before City’s defence were able to track back.
Nick Kalmar scored the first competitive goal for City after the break when he headed home an equaliser from a set-piece. The scores remained locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes to send the round of 32 fixture into extra-time.
Ali Abbas converted a pair of penalties in the ensuing 30 minutes to give his team a 3-1 advantage over 10-man City, who had Jason Hoffman sent-off for a foul in the box. John van’t Schip’s side had their chances with Aaron Mooy twice going close but ultimately their ill-discipline cost them the result.
Meanwhile Adelaide City produced the first major shock in the inaugural edition of the Cup competition, stunning last season’s A-League grand finalists Western Sydney.
Thomas Love was the hero for the South Australian Premier League side, producing a sublime individual effort that saw him scoot past numerous Wanderers defenders before tucking the ball home for the only goal of the match.
There were some nervy moments for the former NSL champions as Tony Popovic’s men tried desperately to find an equaliser late on but they couldn’t find a way through the Zebra’s defence and were left to lament not converting their chances.
The Wanderers fielded a strong side that featured All Star hero Tomi Juric and veteran custodian Ante Covic and would’ve been confident of progressing with an Asian Champions League tie not far away. However the home side hung onto their slender advantage until full-time much to the delight of nearly 3,000 fans.
NSW Premier League side Sydney United also progressed to the next round of the competition, after they accounted for Queensland’s FNQ Heat. The final four fixtures of the round of 32 will be played next Tuesday and will feature last season’s champions Brisbane Roar.
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