Tigers FC 0 (4) def. Canberra FC 0 (2)
By Tim Warren
Tigers FC qualified for the FFA Cup Round of 32 with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium on Saturday night, in a match that was disrupted by volatile weather.
On a cold Canberra night, fog set in over Deakin Stadium in the final 15 minutes of regulation time and upon the full-time whistle visibility at ground level was scarce.
The re-start for extra-time was delayed by almost 45 minutes as match officials deemed the conditions unsafe to play as a thick fog covered the ground.
When the teams retook the field of play at the commencement of the first half of extra-time, the fog had slightly lifted but the deadlock could not be broken between the two sides, in what was a physical and fast-paced cup final.
When the penalty shootout began, nearly three hours after the initial match kick-off, both Canberra FC and Tigers FC missed their opening penalties, further adding to the increasing drama of the Federation Cup final.
Mark Shields gave the Tigers an early advantage when he converted the first penalty of the night for either side, which was confirmed when Matthew Waters missed Canberra’s second penalty of the night.
Both teams went on to score all of their remaining penalties, however the damage was already done early in the shootout to Canberra FC and when Tigers goalkeeper Jakob Cole confidently converted his penalty the Tigers claimed an unassailable 4-2 lead.
The victory meant Tigers claimed the Men’s Federation Cup for the first time ever, spoiling Canberra FC’s chance of winning it in consecutive years following their 2018 success.
Earlier, in what was a high-action, end to end game, Canberra FC held sway for majority of the first half, dominating field position and recording more shots at the opposition goal, albeit with no clear cut opportunities.
Michael Kita would’ve been disappointed not to register the first goal of the match for Tigers in the 39th minute when he was put in through on goal, but his close-range shot struck the crossbar and was headed away by Waters.
Tigers came out after the break with a new agenda, holding the ascendency and controlling the ball in what was a mirror to the first half display.
Nearing the end of the game as the scores remained the same it looked as though a penalty shootout was a sure thing.
In the 120th minute Canberra FC looked to have stolen a remarkable last-minute win, when Ivan Pavlak’s cross was met by Daniel Barac but he could only head over the bar, in what was one of the best chances of the game.
The opportunity went to waste and Canberra FC ultimately went on to rue the missed chance.