Victory knock Adelaide out of FFA Cup
Ben McKay |
Melbourne Victory have dumped two-time reigning FFA Cup champions Adelaide United out of the competition with a comeback 2-1 quarter-final win.
And on a dramatic Wednesday night in Melbourne, teenage goalkeeper Alex Paulsen made three penalty shootout saves to edge Wellington Phoenix past Melbourne City 0-0 (4-3) in their last-eight clash..
At Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium, Jake Brimmer was United’s destroyer, setting up Victory’s second-half goals.
Craig Goodwin put the hosts on track for a fourth-straight semi-final with a 33rd minute free kick, palmed into the net by Victory gloveman Ivan Kelava.
From almost the same patch of grass a half hour later, Brimmer summoned a similarly sharp set piece, curling a peach to the back post where Josh Brillante equalised.
With 13 minutes left, Brimmer played in Francesco Margiotta who struck Jacob Tratt’s outstretched hand with a shot, earning a penalty which the Italian duly converted.
George Blackwood butchered a late chance, heading over from inside five metres deep into injury time.
The defeat was United’s first FFA Cup loss since the 2017 final, ending an unparalleled 12-match winning run in the competition.
Tony Popovic’s side join already-qualified Central Coast in the last four, as well as the Phoenix – semi-finalists for the first time thanks to Paulsen’s heroics.
Both City and Wellington endured COVID-hit preparations and looked shot as they went the distance, deadlocked at full-time and after extra time.
All but five City players caught COVID over the Christmas break according to coach Patrick Kisnorbo, while Wellington lost three players in the last 24 hours to the virus.
A club statement issued prior to kick off stated three players returned “inconsistent” tests, meaning captain Alex Rufer played at centre back with a string of youngsters playing crucial roles.
Led by Clayton Lewis, the Nix had the best of regular time and looked more dangerous and organised.
Still, City should have led into the break but captain Scott Jamieson rifled his first-half penalty effort over the bar after Callan Elliot stumbled into Marco Tilio.
With more quality on the bench, City finished stronger but couldn’t force a winner.
Jamieson missed another penalty in the shootout, but he wasn’t alone: after 10 penalties the shootout stood at just 2-2.
City gloveman Tom Glover made two saves of his own but Paulsen won it by saving from Rostyn Griffiths, Scott Galloway and, in sudden death, Tilio.
The semi-final draw will be made on Thursday, ahead of the Sydney FC-Brisbane Roar quarter-final next week.AAP