It’s almost upon us Knights fans! Our big dance on the national stage against the defending FFA Cup Champions Adelaide United arrives tomorrow night! The grass is mowed, the lights are on, the team sheets are in – all that’s left to do is enjoy 90 minutes of football at its best.
The Knights have had arguably one of the toughest Cup runs to date to enter the national stage of the competition.
They kicked off their campaign with a comfortable 7-0 victory over State 2 side Mooroolbark SC which was then followed by a banana skin tie against Fitzroy City.
The Knights got through that contest quite comfortably in the end earning a 3-0 victory to progress to the next stage.
They were then drawn to play the undefeated at the time and league leaders of the NPL competition, Avondale FC. In what was Marijan Cvitkovic’s first game in charge of the side, the Knights came back from a goal down to win the game 2-1 in extra time.
In what was the Knights best performance of the season, a Hamish Watson hat-trick saw him notch up 10 FFA Cup goals for the season and help his side progress to the Round of 32 after a comfortable 4-2 victory over long time rivals South Melbourne FC.
The live Round of 32 draw saw the Knights get paired with 2018 FFA Cup Champions Adelaide United, being one of only four other grassroots clubs to face off against A-League competitors.
Unlike their A-League compatriots, the Knights have been competitively playing football up until now, dividing their time between regular NPL season matches, Dockerty Cup matches and FFA Cup matches.
The Knights’ most recent endeavour proved to be a sour affair, falling to their bogey side Kingston City over the weekend. However, with a starting 11 void of key players Hamish Watson, Mohamed Awad, Marijan Cvitkovic and Joesph Franjic, the particularly young starting 11 weren’t able to find the back of the net on Friday night and eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat away from home.
Despite the result, the match saw the return – albeit to the bench – of keeper Harry Cakarun, who has made a speedy recovery in time for tonight’s match. Speaking on his recovery, the young keeper had this to say:
“All I’ve been focusing on is getting match ready for tonight. I was pretty happy last week when I got the all clear from Jose to join the bench. All the preparation and hard work I’ve put in for tonight has been worth it, but I still don’t know if it will be me or Jordy in goals tonight”
Aside from regular season games, the Knights also triumphed over FC Bulleen Lions to book themselves a spot in the 2019 Dockerty Cup final, to be played out this Saturday (10th August) against Hume City FC at the Kingston Heath Soccer Complex at 5pm. With silverware up for grabs, we encourage all Knights fans to make the trek to Cheltenham to cheer on the boys in this huge Dockerty Cup fixture.
Looking to the other side of the coin, Adelaide Untied on the other hand have had an interrupted preparation to their defence of their FFA Cup title. A coaching change in the off season has seen Marko Kurz leave the club, replaced by Dutch manager, Gertjan Verbeek.
New head coach Verbeek has to deal with one of the smallest roster turnovers of all Hyundai A-League clubs heading into the 2019/20 season, with only four players departing.
Riley McGree, Michael Maria and Kristian Opseth are the Reds’ new arrivals and the continuity in camp is something Michael Marrone believes will help the defending champions take care of business, even against a ‘fired up’ NPL Victoria side. Speaking to adelaideunited.com.au, Marrone offered up these insights into Adelaide’s preparation:
“When you play state league clubs they’re going to be fired up because it’s an all-in game. The advantage for them is that they’re in season and they’ve been playing together for quite a while.”
“But I think also on the flip side, we’re not a new team, we’ve got a few additions, but most of our team has remained the same and we’re all learning the same process together. So we’ll be fine and we’ve played a couple of games now so we’ve got some minutes in the legs and I’m sure it’ll help with all the preparation necessary to be successful”
Despite key forward George Blackwood going down with a hamstring injury in their first pre-season game and key player Craig Goodwin leaving the club in the past week, the Reds still have plenty of attacking options.
Current Socceroo Ben Halloran will be one to watch as will be young gun, Riley McGree who has joined the club in the off-season from Melbourne City.
All in all, tonight’s fixture is sure to be the match to watch this match day, if not in the entire round of 32. An expected bumper crowd of over 5,000 are expected to attend this highly anticipated fixture so we want to see all Knights fans in their red, white and blue cheering on the boys to the round of 16.
If you haven’t already, RSVP to our Facebook to stay up to date with all relevant game day info.
FFA Cup 2019 – Round of 32 – Match Day 3
Wednesday 7 August 2019
Melbourne Knights FC (VIC) v Adelaide United
Knights Stadium, Sunshine North, VIC
Kick-Off: 7:30PM (Local) (7:30PM (AEST))
Referee: Lachlan Keevers
Assistant Referee 1: Wilson Brown
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Stevenson
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 507 from 7.00pm (AEST), www.foxsports.com.au, Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers
Melbourne Knights FC squad: 1.Hrvoje CAKARUN (gk), 2.Luke JURCIC, 5.Ayden BRICE, 6.Anthony DUZEL, 7.Gian ALBANO, 8.Caleb MIKULIC, 9.Hamish WATSON, 10.Marijan CVITKOVIC, 12.Corey SEWELL, 13.Ivan GRGIC, 14.Ata INIA, 15.Adrian TARDIO, 16.Mohamed AWAD, 17.Juan Felipe SANCHEZ ROMERO, 19.Nicholas GLAVAN, 20.Jordan GIFKINS (gk), 22.Thomas SKOFF (gk), 25.Atilla OFLI, 27.Joseph FRANJIC
Adelaide United FC squad: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Ryan STRAIN, 5.Michael MARIA, 6.Vince LIA, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.Riley MCGREE, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18.Lachlan BROOK, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26.Benjamin HALLORAN , 27.Louis D’ARRIGO, 28.Kristin KONSTANDOPOULOS, 29.Kusini YENGI, 30.Isaac RICHARDS (gk), 31.Mirko BOLAND, 32.Carlo ARMIENTO, 35.Al Hassan TOURE