Epic FFA Cup victory!



Tuesday 17th May 2016
Tuggeranong United 1 (Nikolaos Kalfas 90+4’ (pen)) Monaro Panthers 1 (Alan Murphy 45’) – Tuggeranong United wins 4-1 on penalties

Article courtesy of Capital Football

For Tuggeranong United, joy. For Monaro Panthers, despair. The Westfield FFA Cup Qualifier at Deakin Stadium showcased the magic of the competition in a nutshell. The Panthers were forty seconds from victory when United were awarded a stoppage time penalty from which Nikolaos Kalfas sent the match into extra-time. And the introduction of substitute ‘keeper Costa Fallas, ten seconds from the conclusion of the extra half-hour, allowed the stopper to make a brace of penalty saves in the shoot-put and oust the brave young Panthers 4-1 on penalties.

That it got that far was down to some profligate finishing from the Panthers. Alan Murphy, otherwise brilliant in a holding midfield role, wasted a glorious chance to seal the match in the second half, clipping an effort wide when clean through the United defence, as did Daniel Felizzi, shooting wide into the side-netting when through on goal.

And Tuggeranong made them pay in the 92nd minute when Cameron Doherty’s barnstorming run ended with a perfect cross into the danger area that was handled by a Monaro defender leaving the referee no option but to award the spot-kick from which Kalfas thundered home, straight down the middle, to send the match into extra-time and set the stage for Fallas’ heroics, a la the Dutch custodian Tim Krul at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

For a Westfield FFA Cup knock-out tie the opening exchanges were fairly tepid as both teams struggled to impose any sort of hold on the match. With the midfield battle even, meaningful opportunities were very much at a premium throughout the first stanza. Irish midfielder Murphy headed over from a corner in the 16th minute for the Panthers whilst Domenic Colucciello replied in kind for Tuggeranong, his header tipped over the bar by Nathan Alferink.

It was all hustle and bustle but there was little imagination from either side creatively until, eight minutes from the break, when Marco Gayer sent a curling effort at goal that beat Alferink but landed harmlessly on the roof of the net. Just as it looked as if the match would be all-square at the break, the Panthers struck. A lofted free-kick into the area was met by the head of Martin Deng who’s flick beat Tom Barton in the Tuggeranong goal and clattered off the inside of the post, bouncing loose inside the six yard box. Murphy reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line from close range and give Monaro a priceless advantage at the break.

Needing to find an equaliser to keep their cup aspirations alive, Tuggeranong started sharply in thesecond half but a disciplined Monaro kept their shape and refused to buckle. They even had a half-chance to stretch their lead but Deng’s shot was blocked by the massed ranks of the covering Tuggeranong defence. The introduction of substitutes Daniel Roberts, for Colucciello, and Tim Anderson for Eddie Coggan, was geared towards inspiring a lethargic Tuggeranong inside the final half-hour.

But it was Monaro who should have sewn the game up with eleven minutes remaining. Murphy, the game’s outstanding player, dribbled past a couple of Tuggeranong challenges but, faced with the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes, he dragged his shot past the left-hand post from the centre of the goal. Then came the dramatic denouement and Kalfas’ spot-kick before Fallas double shoot-out save allowed Gayer to seal the deal with the final penalty.

Tuggeranong United: 1. Tom BARTON, 2. Cameron DOHERTY, 3. Domenic COLUCCIELLO, 4. Sam SHADBOLT, 5. Nick FAUST, 7. Nikolaos KALFAS, 9. Aaron CASHMAN, 11. Marco GAYER, 14. Andrew SLAVICH, 15. Liam HIGHMORE, 16. Eddie COGGAN
Substitutes used: 8. Daniel ROBERTS, 12. Costa FALLAS, 13. Tim ANDERSON
Monaro Panthers: 21. Nathan ALFERINK, 3. Daniel HEARLE, 4. Luka MARKULIN, 5. Chris RUIZ, 6. Alan MURPHY, 8. Sam ROESTBAKKEN, 11. Darian MCGARRY-WATSON, 12. Tony SPASESKI, 13. Ed MCCARTHY, 14. Martin DENG, 20. Caleb CULLEN-RUA
Substitutes used: 7. Daniel FELIZZI, 9. Thomas HEWITT, 16. Lachlan HUNTER
YELLOW CARDS: 4. Sam SHADBOLT, 11. Marco GAYER, 12. Costa FALLAS, 14. Andrew SLAVICH (Tuggeranong United), 5. Chris RUIZ (Monaro Panthers)