In an exciting matchup between two high-profile Victorian sides, your reigning Isuzu UTE A-League Champions Melbourne City are set to take on South Melbourne FC in the FFA Cup Round of 32 this Friday.
Mainstays of the national top-tier prior to Australian football’s revamping in the mid-2000s, South Melbourne maintains a sizeable community following as the club currently competes in the Victorian NPL 1 competition.
The Lakeside Stadium-based side secured its biggest achievement in 1999, winning the OFC Champions League that year, before going on to represent the region in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2000, where they were grouped with a certain treble-winning Manchester United outfit.
In more recent times, South’s Argentinian manager Esteban Quintas guided his side to a 9th place finish amidst a cancelled 2021 NPL 1 campaign. The state’s premier football competition suffered at the hands of COVID-enforced lockdowns, with teams only able to play 18 games before the season was cancelled indefinitely.
Towering striker Harrison Sawyer shared club top-scoring rights with defender Marco Jankovic, the pair each recording four goals in the shortened campaign.
Quintas’ time at the club has seen his side develop impressive defensive solidity, with the team conceding the second-fewest goals in the competition in 2021, despite their lower-half finish.
Accordingly, it was a dogged defensive display that saw South Melbourne hold Oakleigh Cannons to a 0-0 stalemate in the FFA Cup’s 7th qualifying round, with the tie decided only by a penalty shootout. On the back of their composure from the spot, South qualified for the Round of 32, setting up a highly-anticipated clash with the national league Champions.
Our City boys will undoubtedly be eager for their first competitive minutes of the 2021/22 season and will be hoping for a repeat of our 2016 Cup campaign as we look to win the competition for a second time.