Canberra Olympic v Gungahlin United | Preliminary Final | Sunday, 4:30pm @ Deakin Stadium
Two star-studded teams will go head-to-head in the NPL1 preliminary final on Sunday, as Canberra Olympic and Gungahlin United battle it out for a spot in next weeks Grand Final.
Gungahlin enter the match full of confidence having defeated Canberra FC 5-2 in the elimination final, while Olympic will be hoping to recapture their Premiership winning form after falling narrowly to Tigers FC.
But Marcial Munoz and his side have yet to beat Olympic this season; losing 2-0 early in the year before being crushed 7-2 in round 11, and the threat Olympic pose hasn’t been lost on Gungahlin midfielder Antoni Timotheou.
“Obviously they’ve got talent all across the team,” Timotheou said yesterday.
“It’s not just [Stephen] Domenici, or [Kofi] Danning, they’ve got all of these good players that can hurt us, obviously in the back they’re strong and in the midfield they’re strong.
“They’ve been our bogey team this year, so we’re hoping that we can change that this weekend.”
Gungahlin impressed in their elimination final win last week, and Timotheou says his side are hoping to replicate that performance against Olympic.
“We started a bit shaky [against Canberra FC] but we got into the groove of things, especially in the second-half,” Timotheou said.
“We’ve had a really good week at training so far, so obviously we’ve got a massive amount of confidence going into this game and hopefully we can get the win.”
Olympic on the other hand come into the match off the back of a disappointing 1-0 loss to the Tigers.
But young gun Nick Faust says the squad are determined to bounce back and recapture the form that saw them lift the Premiership trophy two weeks ago.
“I think having the week off, and playing the same team again might have got into our heads a little bit,” Faust said.
“It was a big reality check last week and the boys know what’s up for grabs this week, it’ll either make or break the season.
“So the boys will be ready to bounce back.”
Olympic will need to do it without Nik Popovich, and maybe leading goal scorer Stephen Domenici, who has been dealing with a calf complaint throughout the week.
But Frank Cachia’s squad is still stacked with talent, and the likes of Danning and Daniel Sparrow are match winners on their day.
Gungahlin boast a star-studded midfield themselves, led by Timotheou and the Habtemariam brothers, so the side that gains ascendancy in that area of the park may well go on to win the match.
As always, you can catch all the action LIVE on BarTV Sports from 4:30pm on Sunday.