PS4 NPL: GRAND FINAL RE-MATCH HEADS WEEKENDS FIXTURES
PLAYSTATION 4 NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES: CANBERRA
MATCHDAY 2 – PREVIEW
The Grand Final rematch between Canberra FC and Canberra Olympic headlines Round 2 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Canberra competition with the duo meeting at Deakin Stadium on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. The pair met in last season’s denouement in which Olympic triumphed with a 3-1 success after conceding inside the opening minute and, as is often the wont when this pair meet, the quality and ferocity made for an absorbing an memorable contest. We expect nothing different this weekend.
Both got their campaigns off to a winning start with the League Champions Canberra FC forced to come from behind twice in defeating Monaro Panthers 3-2 at Deakin Stadium whilst Canberra Olympic defeated Gungahlin United 3-0 at O’Connor Enclosed. Whilst FC dominated large amounts of territory and possession against Monaro they struggled to break down a staunch Panthers’ defensive system. The return of striker Thomas James from suspension may alleviate those concerns and his partnership with Domenic Giampaolo could be crucial.
Olympic has a wealth of talent to choose from, a glance at last weekend’s bench proves that with Michael Reeve, Jeremy Habtemariam and leading scorer Philippe Bernabo-Madrid, recently returned from injury, forming a hefty back-up. They netted three times in their win over Gungahlin, but having scored at the tail-end of each half know that they will need to up their game once more if they are to storm their opponents home ground again – a venue that Olympic have conquered more than anyone in the modern era.
Matchday 2 commences on Saturday evening as Woden-Weston FC meet the FFA COE at Woden Park with a 5.30pm kick-off. Woden-Weston host their first home match of the season after making the long trip to Tigers FC in Round 1, running into a Tigers squad in ruthless form in front of goal. That 1-5 defeat leaves Head Coach Martin Lategui with a bit to do this week but the Wanderers won’t be the only team to suffer at Nijong Oval.
The FFA COE meanwhile made a blistering start to their season as they romped into a 5-0 lead against Tuggeranong United at the Australian Institute of Sport. That they failed to kick-on in the second half may be something of a cause for concern for the FFA COE coaching staff but was surely endemic of a group of young players fatiguing at the end of ninety minutes in which their pace, movement and technique showed through. The pace at which they shift the ball in transition could prove troublesome for Woden-Weston FC.
The Tigers head to Gungahlin Enclosed on Sunday afternoon hoping to make it two from two having won their opening day match at Nijong Oval but may find Gungahlin United in a belligerent mood. The Gunners need to stop conceding from set-plays and improve in the air as they shipped two last week from aerial encounters. The Tigers prefer to play the ball on the deck, but if striker Nicolas Abot, no shirker in the air and with two goals under his belt on debut, senses a weakness he is more than equipped to punish.
At Kambah 2 two teams who suffered heavy opening day defeats clash as Tuggeranong United meet CU Academy. United was beaten by the FFA COE last week and the Academy, who were trounced at McKellar Park by Belconnen United, play a similar style of football so Tuggeranong will need to tighten up defensively. A trip to Kambah is never one for the faint hearted and the Academy will need to be on their game to avoid a second defeat. The possible availability of their new Greek imports that shone in pre-season but were waiting for their ITC could be a bonus for Tuggeranong with the goalscoring threat of Nikolaos Kalfas in particular something that United desperately missed on Matchday 1.
At the Riverside Stadium Monaro Panthers will welcome Belconnen United and will no doubt need another stoic display in front of their own supporters to spring what would be an upset win. Their defensive discipline in the narrow loss to Canberra FC was admirable and the youngsters equipped themselves well and were a credit to Head Coach Graeme Plath and his coaching staff. They will need to be on their toes again to repel the rampant Blue Devils who racked up an 8-1 opening day win with striker Sam Smith nabbing a five-goal haul. A fascinating encounter is ahead here on what should be another high-scoring weekend in the PS4 NPL Canberra.
Saturday 9th April 2016
Woden-Weston FC v FFA COE
(Woden Park, 17:30)
Sunday 10th April
Gungahlin United v Tigers FC
Monaro Panthers v Belconnen United
(Riverside Stadium, 3pm)
Canberra FC v Canberra Olympic
(Deakin Stadium, 3pm)
Tuggeranong United v CU Academy
(Kambah 2, 3pm)