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Floreat Athena celebrate following Jesse Fuller's winning penalty. Photo by FotoEnzo

FFA Cup: Athena through after penalty drama

Report by Tommy Doleman

Floreat Athena advanced to the national FFA Cup Round of 32 and the Belt Up Cup Final following a penalty shoot-out win over Sorrento at E&D Litis Stadium.

The preliminary Round Seven tie finished 1-1 after extra-time before Floreat went through 4-3 on penalties – Jesse Fuller scoring the winning spot-kick.

It is the second time Floreat have advanced to this stage of the FFA Cup, after facing Melbourne City in 2016. And this is the third time  they have prevailed on penalties in 2019 after wins over Rockingham and Bayswater in the Night Series.

It was perhaps no surprise the match was decided on penalties after referee Matthew Southern awarded three during the match itself.

Posted by Sorrento Football Club on Saturday, 15 June 2019

The home side were presented with the first opportunity on 17 minutes when Gulls keeper James Morgan fouled Robert Petkov in the area. But Morgan made amends as he dived to save Dean Evans’ penalty and gathered at the second attempt.

FFA CUP FRONT AND CENTRE FOR BEST MATES

Sorrento’s Cameron Teece headed over the bar and Floreat’s Chris Saldaris hit the post in a first half where chances were few and far between.

The second half was far more open. Jordan Roberts forced Athena’s Jason Saldaris into a terrific save, before Marco Santalucia’s header crashed off the Sorrento bar.

REACTION: Floreat Athena coach Garret McDuling

Saldaris saved a Teece header soon after, before the goalkeeper denied David Stokoe with a wonderful diving intervention to claw the ball away from the top corner.

Floreat rode their luck on those occasions, but they were presented with another opportunity from the penalty spot with eight minutes to play, which Petkov didn’t waste as he sent Morgan the wrong way.

The lead lasted for just three minutes though as Saldaris clattered into several bodies in the area and Southern gave a third penalty, which Teece blasted down the middle to level the score at 1-1.

REACTION: Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell

Extra time couldn’t split the sides either as Chris Saldaris headed over from six yards, while at the other end Reece Vittiglia’s goalbound shot was deflected wide.

And so to penalties. The shootout was tied at 3-3 before Vittiglia’s penalty was saved to his left by Saldaris, leaving Fuller to blast high into the net and win the tie for Floreat.

Bayswater City host Rockingham City in the second WA prelimary semi-final on Sunday (3pm), with the winners joing Floreat in the FFA Cup Round of 32 and facing them in the Belt Up Cup Final next month.

Star player: Jason Saldaris (Floreat Athena)

FFA Cup Round Seven
Floreat Athena 1
(Petkov pen 82min)
Sorrento 1
(Teece pen 85)
Floreat win 4-3 on penalties

Saturday, June 15
E&D Litis Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Referee:
Matthew Southern
Assistant referees:
Josh Nixon, Shane Skinner

Floreat Athena: GK: Jason SALDARIS, 2. Marco SANTALUCIA, 6. Jesse FULLER, 9. Robert PETKOV, 10. Nick AMBROGIO (32. Robbie HARDING 83), 11. Dennis GALAN, 15. Chris SALDARIS, 16. Ryan MALTON (5. Thomas JEBB 57), 17. Dean EVANS, 18. Phil ARNOLD, 33. Tyler HOLDEN (14. Ludovic BOI 74)
Substitutes not used: RGK: Jordan BARBAS, 4. Adrian MADASCHI
Yellow cards: Galan 90, Fuller 107
Red cards: Nil

Sorrento: GK: James MORGAN, 2. David STOKOE, 3. Jakub PRAJZA (4. Shaun KILKELLY 52), 5. Scott ROBERTSON, 7. Alex MORGAN, 10. Jordan ROBERTS, 11. Tim HILL, 17. Reece VITTIGLIA, 18. Jordan BROWN, 19. Jack SALTER (20. Jaxon TEMATA 91), 23. Cameron TEECE
Substitutes not used: RGK: Matthew GIUDICATTI, 16. Daniel PEARCE, 30. Jesse OWUOR
Yellow cards: Hill 55, Teece 90+1
Red Cards: Nil