Riverina Rhinos 1 (Roy Catanzariti 89’) def. by Canberra Olympic 5 (Stephen Domenici 27’, 74’, Kofi Danning 34’, Nik Popovich 36’ Jay Kelly 57’)
Canberra Olympic moved to the top of the NPL1 ladder and showed no signs of tired legs on the road with a big win over the Rhinos in Griffith on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors got on the board 27 minutes in when Nik Popovich broke through, and he turned on a dime to avoid the rushing goalkeeper before squaring to Stephen Domenici for the simplest of finishes.
There was a chance for the Rhinos to level but Alex Mulrooney-Castellano could only fire wide from close range and they were punished by tidy finishes from Kofi Danning and Popovich in the minutes following to leave them three goals down at half-time.
A sweeping move down the right created the fourth goal as Nick Faust crossed beautifully for Jay Kelly to finish at the back post 12 minutes into the half and as the game entered it’s final 20 minutes Domenici scored his second with a fine strike from the edge of the area.
The Rhinos grabbed a consolation goal through when Roy Catanzariti pounced on a loose ball in the dying minutes, but it was too little, too late for the hosts who slumped to a 13th loss for the season.
They’ll now host Tuggeranong United in the final round next weekend, while Olympic play host to Tigers FC in a simply massive Premiership decider.
Monaro Panthers 1 (Michael Rinaudo 60’) def. by Belconnen United 4 (Taylor Beaton 37’, Luca Macor 49’, Sam Whithear 74’, 84’)
A convincing display from Belconnen United moved them into equal fourth spot with Canberra FC on points and ended the finals hopes of Monaro at Riverside.
The Blue Devils got on the board eight minutes before the break through an indirect free-kick, Dustin Wells rolling the ball off to Taylor Beaton and his deflected strike snuck home.
Two minutes into the second half Luca Macor got his boot to a massive throw from Sam Whithear to direct it in and double the lead, but Monaro struck back on the hour mark through a tidy finish from Michael Rinaudo to cut the lead in half.
But 14 minutes later the lead was back out to two goals when a thumping header from Whithear off a corner went in and he had a double ten minutes later to write the game off, following in the ball off an initially saved effort to round the scoring at 4-1.
Monaro are now out of finals contention and play their final fixture this weekend against Woden-Weston, while Belconnen have the bye and require a big win from Gungahlin against Canberra FC to make the finals.
Gungahlin United 3 (Samuel Habtemariam 9’, Tom McLachlan 49’, Zac Barbatano 52’) def. Tigers FC 0
By Tim Warren
Gungahlin United’s delivered a clinical performance to knock over Tigers FC at the AIS on Sunday, ensuring that the latter will go into next weekend’s Premiership decider behind Canberra Olympic on points.
The heavy defeat means Cooma remain planted on 32 competition points, while Olympic’s emphatic 5-1 win over the Riverina Rhinos on Saturday saw them leapfrog their rivals with 34.
Gungahlin got off to the perfect start against the Tigers with Samuel Habtemariam netting the opening goal of the game in just the 9th minute, when he calmly tapped in the rebound following Misko Naumoski’s shot being saved onto the bar by Jakob Cole
In a first half that was dominated by Gungahlin’s possession and attacking flare, the home side thought they had doubled their advantage nine minutes before the break, however the linesman ruled the goal offside.
Gungahlin took a one goal lead to the break and it didn’t take long for them to add a second just after half time.
Tom Mclachlan stood over a free-kick on the edge of the area after Zac Barbatano was brought down, and he struck an effort that deflected off the side of the wall and into the net past Cole just four minutes in.
It only took another three minutes for Gungahlin United to score their third goal and secure the three points.
A spectacular solo run into the box and a slice of luck with a deflection off a defender saw Barbatano surge into a goal scoring position and expertly finished the ball in the bottom corner.
The flurry of goals in quick succession proved too much for Tigers to overcome, with the visitors failing to register on the scoresheet.
The Tigers will be wanting to quickly find form before their NPL1 finals campaign starts, with the side coming off recent losses to Canberra FC and Gungahlin, as well as an FFA Cup Round of 32 exit to Hume City.
This weekend’s results set up a mouthwatering final round clash for the Capital Football NPL1 Premiership, with Tigers FC to visit Olympic in a title decider next Sunday at O’Connor to decide who takes home the silverware.
Meanwhile, Gungahlin will be hoping to keep their excellent run of form going as they clash with Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium where the makeup of the top four will be confirmed.
Tuggeranong United 2 (Hamidullah Pojohishgar 40’, Aisosa Ihegie 73’) def. Woden-Weston 0
Tuggeranong United played host to Woden-Weston in their final home fixture of the season and saw off Greenway in style with a 2-0 win on Sunday afternoon in Round 17.
United had a chance to open the scoring 25 minutes in only for Daniel Linstead’s looping header to strike the crossbar, but 15 minutes later Hamidullah Pojohishgar gave them the lead when he capitalised on some slack defending to break into the box and fire into the far corner.
Both sides went looking for the next goal but it took a while to materialize, and this time it was the hosts again. This time Aisosa Ihegie turned and burnt his defender in midfield with sheer pace before ghosting past another and rifling the ball home to double Tuggeranong’s lead.
The win was a good way to wrap up home fixtures for Tuggeranong, and they will look to finish the season on a high against the Rhinos in round 18, while Woden-Weston will take on Monaro.