Monaro Panthers bravely exited the Australia Cup at the Round of 32 stage as they were defeated by Sydney United 58 at Edensor Park. A trio of goals sent the home side into the last-sixteen with the Panthers left to reflect on what could have been.
The visitors from Capital Football were heavy underdogs but quickly quietened the home support with a fast start that could, and arguably should, have given them an advantage early on.
Darren Bailey almost opened the scoring in the fifth minute, his header wonderfully saved by United custodian Danijel Nizic, and the man between the Sydney posts was also called upon to save with his legs from Andre Carle and Amilio Kista as the Panthers peppered the Sydney goal.
Indeed, they could easily have been presented with a penalty midway through the half when a blatant handball was waved away, even then Josh Calabria should have netted on the rebound.
Football has a classic way of delivering a sucker-punch however and it did so again seven minutes before the interval. A superbly timed run by Patrick Antelmi saw him spilt the Panthers rear-guard before calmly clipping his finish over Jordan Thurtell who, in truth, had little to do up until that point, fielding a couple of routine hits from distance.
With little between the teams at the break, there was all to play for, and it was Sydney United who came out firing, unfortunate not to double their lead with a brilliant strike cannoning off the crossbar.
Again, the Panthers responded well and had a second shout for a penalty waved away, the ball ricocheting up off afoot onto an outstretched arm. United had a similar appeal of their own dismissed later in the half.
The Panthers were still well in the contest until Sydney were awarded a penalty in the 63rd minute, Bailey adjudged to have felled Taisei Kaneko, allowing Christopher Payne to confidently slot home from the spot.
Summing up the Panthers night was the third Sydney goal. Shortly after Andre Carle had seen an effort disallowed, the officials ruling that Ben Basser-Silk had run into goalkeeper Nizic and awarding a free-kick after consultation, United broke long and Kyle Cimenti was ice-cool in slotting in the match-killing third.
A clinical Sydney United 58, who took their chances when offered, can look forward to a Round of 16 match-up with Western United, but they will know they had the luck of the cup with them on a night in which the Panthers made them work much harder for the result then they might have been expecting.
Wednesday 3 August 2022
(Edensor Park, Sydney)
Sydney United 58 3 (Antelmi 38’, Payne 63’ (p), Cimenti 79’) Monaro Panthers 0
TEAM: 1. Jordan THURTELL, 2. Adam DE FRANCESCHI (12. Sebastian WOODS 58’), 3. David JENKINS, 5. Darren BAILEY (4. James WILSON 72’), 6. Gabe COLE, 9. Andre CARLE, 10. Amilio KISTA (11. Adam NEOU 78’), 16. Kyle SENIOR, 17. Ben BASSER-SILK, 91. Zac MCLAREN, 99. Josh CALABRIA
SUBS NOT USED: 19. Patrick MITCHELL, 21. Jordan CACHIA, 22. Gerion MEHMETAJ
Head Coach: Frank CACHIA
Assistant Coaches: Ian WORTHINGTON & Matt CACHIA
YELLOW CARDS: 3. David JENKINS, 6. Gabe COLE, 9. Andre CARLE, 16. Kyle SENIOR
RED CARDS: None