Adelaide United will play another team from South Australia for the first time since the FFA Cup’s inception when it tackles Adelaide Olympic on Sunday afternoon.
It is also the first time two teams from the City of Churches face off in the competition’s history.
The Reds needed extra-time to defeat Perth-based outfit Floreat Athena 3-1 in the last 32 with their quality ultimately shining through in what was largely a sluggish performance, but mitigated by the lack of pre-season matches.
However, Adelaide did get the chance to play a friendly against State League One side Adelaide Victory on Tuesday night to get more match minutes into the legs.
The three-time FFA Cup winners go into the contest as favourites, though the artificial pitch at the VALO Football Centre provides an interesting caveat for some of the Reds players with little experience playing on the synthetic surface.
A cracking fixture awaits as United will be looking to extend its record FFA Cup winning streak to 12 matches and progress to the quarter finals.
Olympic finished in seventh place at the end of the National Premier League South Australia season but did win the local federation cup final over Adelaide City. In the Round of 32, Yianni Stamatelopoulos’ squad also tasted victory across the Nullarbor. Olympic scored three goals beyond the 70th minute mark, breaking ECU Joondalup’s resistance to claim a 3-0 triumph and reach the last 16 for the second time in its history. Italian striker Fausto Erba and Greek forward Giannis Simosis pose the primary threats for the club and their influence – along with midfielder Kristin Konstandopoulos – will need to be curtailed.
Veart on the opportunity to play in a local derby…
I think it’s going to be good for the players and it’s also going to be a great atmosphere for the supporters. It should be a very good game tomorrow. Olympic are a very good side, I’ve said that earlier. They’ve got some really good young players there that I suppose have got a lot to prove.
Veart on the Reds needing to assert themselves on the contest…
We’re the professional outfit, this is what all our players do for their living. Olympic are semi-professional players, so our players have to stand up and show why they’re professional players.
Veart on playing on an artificial pitch…
A majority of our younger players have all grown up on this pitch here. This where all the development sides train. They’re accustomed to this pitch, it’s just that some of the older players wouldn’t have played on artificial pitches before, but I have no concerns about this pitch. This pitch is a good pitch and we know the ball is going to roll consistently on it, so we have no issues with the pitch.
Carl Veart will have more players in better physical shape at his disposal this weekend. Isaías, George Blackwood, Jacob Tratt and Nick Ansell are fitter with more pre-season training under their belts. Ansell could also be in line to make his official debut for the Club too. Kusini Yengi is expected to be available in some capacity after playing 45 minutes and scoring in the midweek trial match. However, Stefan Mauk, Craig Goodwin, Michael Jakobsen and Joe Gauci remain ruled out with respective injuries but are continuing to make good progress.
Louis D’Arrigo could hold the key for the Reds. With the return of Isaías at the base of the midfield, D’Arrigo has more license to venture forward and he showed that against Athena as he scored a header following an untracked run into the box. Goals are something he wants to add to his game, having found the net twice in 52 games.
The 20-year-old’s defensive attributes will also be crucial when not in possession as he can drop into a double pivot alongside the Spaniard and clog up the midfield, while intercepting any loose balls.
FFA Cup Record
2014 – Did not qualify
2015 – Did not qualify
2016 – Did not qualify
2017 – Did not qualify
2018 – Did not qualify
2019 – Round of 16
2020 – Competition not held
2014 – Winners
2015 – Quarter finals
2016 – Round of 32
2017 – Runners-up
2018 – Winners
2019 – Winners
2020 – Competition not held
Sunday, 17 October vs Adelaide Olympic
FFA Cup 2021 Round of 16
Kick-off 3.00pm ACDT
Venue: VALO Football Centre
Stream: Live and Free via 10 play