By Michael Djordjieski
Canberra FC claimed the Federation Cup trophy and booked their spot in the last 32 of the FFA Cup with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Gungahlin United at Woden Park on Saturday night.
Kofi Danning struck at the end of both halves to confirm Canberra FC’s victory, but proceedings did not get off to a good start for Paul Macor’s men.
United got on top early and looked to dictate possession and control the tempo in the opening exchanges. It only took five minutes for Marcial Munoz’ team to create the first opportunity of the game as Antoni Timotheou’s deflected effort tested the gloves of Sam Brown.
United continued to pile on pressure and they made the breakthrough with just 13 minutes on the clock. Jack Green got on the end of a dangerous free-kick in the six-yard box and squared to ball to Michael Rinaudo who finished into an empty net and wheeled away to celebrate.
Despite struggling to get into the contest early though Canberra FC found themselves level just four minutes later with their first real chance. The ball made it’s way to Mat Grbesa from a set piece and he chipped it over Jason Denham into the net, and after initially being ruled offside the goal was allowed to stand.
Denham made back-to-back saves shortly after to deny Thomas James as Macor’s side began to take over the game.
With ten minutes to play in the first half Rinaudo rifled an effort at goal only for Brown to get down low and save it, and shortly after United had a penalty shout waved away.
Canberra FC broke the other way as United briefly remonstrated, and Ryan Keir chipped a ball in to Danning to nod home and give Canberra FC the lead at the break.
Gungahlin began the second half on the front foot too, and Rinaudo blew a great chance inside the first two minutes as he beat his defender but had a one-on-one chance with Brown saved out for a corner.
Chances slowed down from then on as the game moved into the midfield, and the game looked almost comfortable as 2-1, albeit with United pushing the envelope to find an equaliser.
But with time winding down Danning sealed it for the league leaders, unleashing a cracking effort from just outside the area but the fingers of Jason Denham and in to seemingly seal the game.
United were not quite done as a ball into the area was cut out by Daniel Subasic and into the back of his own net to cut the advantage to one, but it would not be for United as Canberra FC saw out the rest of the clock.
The draw for the Round of 32 will take place on Tuesday 26th June, LIVE on FoxSports.