Westfield FFA Cup Semi-Final
Wednesday, 19th October 2016
Canberra Olympic 0 Sydney FC 3 (Sebastian Ryall 24’, Milos Dimitrijevic 65’, Bernie Ibini 82’)
(Viking Park, Erindale)
By David Jordan
Canberra Olympic’s dream Westfield FFA Cup run came to an end against Hyundai A-League opposition Sydney FC on Wednesday night as they went down 3-0 at Viking Park. In front of a bumper crowd of 5,581 on a fresh October night, goals to Sebastian Ryall, Milos Dimitrijevic and Bernie Ibini saw Sydney FC home in a contest that was closer than the final scoreboard suggested.
Olympic started on the front foot as Michael Reeve looked to orchestrate play down the left wing, repeatedly troubling Rhyan Grant with his pace and movement. Philippe Bernabo-Madrid had the first chance of the game after four minutes as he acrobatically connected with Robbie Cattanach’s cross, however the ball flew well over the bar.
Sydney began to work their way into the game as the half went on longer, and David Carney was at the heart of most of their chances, with a whipped ball towards the back post the first flicker of danger for Olympic. The Sky Blues best early chance came after 23 minutes as a sweeping move saw them race down the right hand side of the field. Grant’s ball sent Bobo scurrying through on goal but Olympic stopper Angelo Konstantinou was up to the challenge and dealt well with the forward’s strike.
But from the resulting corner, the visitors found their breakthrough. A short-taken corner routine, saw a cross swung into the box where Ryall, ghosting in at the far post, jumped highest and headed home past a static Konstantinou.
Olympic were dealt a blow six minutes later as impressive defender Nick Bobolas was forced off through a groin injury, with Oliver Wiederkehr replacing him, forcing a reshuffled with Bernard Rene slotting into the central defensive position. Bobo threatened again after 32 minutes but was again denied by Konstantinou before Alex Brosque sensationally hit the post with a header after beating both the keeper and the defence with a lob but nodding against the upright in front of a gaping goal.
Down by only one at half-time, Olympic still believed but were forced onto the back foot early in the second stanza as Filip Holosko drew a sharp save in the Olympic goal from the outstanding Konstantinou. The Futsalroos stopper was again on hand to narrowly deny Carney’s deflected cross from sneaking in at the near post.
In the 58th minute, some Olympic magic brought the crowd to its feet and produced a fantastic chance. Jeremy Habtemariam squared up to Riley Woodcock deep on the right side before nutmegging him and then squaring well to Bernabo-Madrid, but his deflected shot went out for a corner with Danny Vukovic scrambling in the Sydney goal.
Just after the half hour mark, Olympic had shouts for a handball turned down as they won a corner but failed to make anything of it. Brosque again wasted a good chance two minutes later as he smashed a perfect Carney square ball straight at Konstantinou, but it mattered little as the Sky Blues doubled their lead moments later in the 65th minute.
Appeals for a handball from Sydney were agreed with by the referee, who awarded a free-kick for the contact with Phil Yarnold’s arm just outside the box. And Milos Dimitrijevic stepped up to superbly slot the set-piece into the left corner of the Olympic goal and give the A-League side some breathing room.
Both sides looked to the bench following the second goal, with Frank Cachia needing to chase the game while Graham Arnold looked to solidify his side’s position. The introduction of the speedy Bernie Ibini after 69 minutes proved to be a masterstroke for Arnold, as the flier latched onto the end of Matt Simon’s tidy cross in the 82nd minute to make it 3-0 to the professionals.
Olympic had chances in the final moments too, as an indirect free-kick was awarded for dangerous play, a high foot on the advancing Wiederkehr, before a penalty shout for a rather suspect handball was turned down in the 90th minute as Daniel Colbertaldo, who enjoyed a brilliant match and was endorsed by some ringing praise from the Fox Sports commentators, saw a shot blocked.
The clock ran out to leave Sydney victorious on the night and into their first ever Westfield FFA Cup Grand Final, and the valiant cup run of Canberra Olympic came to an end. Olympic can hold their heads high at the end of a remarkable 60th Anniversary season and proved wonderful ambassadors for football in Canberra.
Canberra Olympic: 1. Angelo KONSTANTINOU, 2. Timothy BOBOLAS, 4. Daniel COLBERTALDO, 5. Philip YARNOLD, 6. Jeremy HABTEMARIAM, 8. Bernard RENE, 9. Philippe BERNABO-MADRID, 10. Robert CATTANACH, 11. Michael REEVE (18. Jordan TSEKENIS 75’), 17. Nicholas BOBOLAS (23. Oliver WIEDERKEHR 30’), 99. Victor YANES (7. Pat ROSS-MAGEE 68’)
Sydney FC: 20. Danny VUKOVIC, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Riley WOODCOCK, 5. Matthew JURMAN, 8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9. BOBO (18. Matt SIMON 74’), 13. Brandon O’NEILL (6. Josh BRILLANTE 46’), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 17. David CARNEY, 21. Filip HOLOSKO (11. Bernie IBINI 68’), 23. Rhyan GRANT
Referee: Chris BEATH
Assistant Referee 1: Allyson FLYNN
Assistant Referee 2: Owen GOLDRICK
Fourth Official: Luke WITHELL
Photos: Lawrence Atkin