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FFA Cup: Balga eye Azzurri upset

Football West News

UPDATE: The NPL WA and State League campaigns take a break this weekend as the FFA Cup enjoys centre stage.

There are seven Round Five matches on Saturday, including NPL leaders Perth SC heading to Division Two Balga.

The unbeaten Azzurri have been faultless so far, certainly in terms of results where they have opened a six-point advantage.

But they have finished their last two matches with 10 men and any repeat on Saturday could see another potential giantkilling for Aleks Vrteski’s Balga, who dumped out Inglewood in Round Four.

First division Gwelup Croatia reached the national stages of the FFA Cup in 2018, seeing off three NPL sides on the way. They have already accounted for Armadale this year and are eyeing another top-flight victim in Sorrento.

Gwelup’s league form is strong but Sorrento might feel this is their year – in the previous round they were seconds from going out against ECU Joondalup until keeper James Morgan went up for a corner and lashed home the equaliser. Morgan then helped the Gulls win the penalty shootout.

Olympic Kingsway v Floreat Athena has the makings of a real blood-and-thunder cup tie between two in-form teams at the top end of their respective divisions.

Kingsway are third in Division One after winning promotion last year and put eight past Joondalup City in the last round. But Floreat will be an entirely different proposition. Third in the NPL, Garrett McDuling’s team are a match for anyone and don’t mind having to battle. This could be a cracker.

The one all NPL clash is between Bayswater City and Cockburn City. The tie at Frank Drago Reserve is a chance for the pair to put to one side their inconsistent league form – after last weekend both had won three, drawn three and lost three.

Balcatta’s perky start to the NPL campaign is fading with the goals drying up for Goran Stajic’s outfit. But they get the perfect opportunity to put that right when second division Canning City visit Grindleford Reserve. Canning have one point from six matches and already look set for a scrap with Shamrock Rovers to avoid possible relegation to Sunday football.

Curtin University, who are fourth bottom in Division Two yet two points from third top, will do well to get a result at Rockingham City. After losing their first three league matches, all away from home, Cam Lord’s players are finding their feet in the NPL, especially at SafeRad Stadium where they rallied from 2-0 down last week to draw with Bayswater.

New Stirling Lions Head Coach Trevor Morgan takes the NPL’s bottom club to Division One UWA Nedlands.

Morgan was pleased with his players approached in their 1-0 loss to Inglewood last week but conceded they were taught a “harsh lesson” in conceding the goal.

UWA haven’t won in five league matches after opening the season with two victories.

Fixtures

FFA Cup Round Five

Saturday, May 18

Sorrento v Gwelup Croatia (Percy Doyle Reserve, 2.30pm)
Balcatta v Canning City (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Balga v Perth SC (Princess Wallington Reserve, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Cockburn City (Frank Drago Reserve, 3pm)
Rockingham City v Curtin University (SafeRad Stadium, 3pm)
UWA Nedlands v Stirling Lions (UWA Sports Park, 3pm)
Olympic Kingsway v Floreat Athena (Olympic Kingsway Sports Club, 4pm)