Avondale FC confirmed its progression to the Round of 16 after defeating Marconi Stallions 4-1 in the FFA Cup on Wednesday night.
The Avengers were making their debut in the competition having never reached the Round of 32 stage. The game was shaping up as a cracker early on with both teams scoring in the first five minutes. Marconi’s James Andrew cancelling out Kaine Sheppard’s opener.
The second half told a different story however, with Avondale coming out the stronger team, taking the lead through midfielder Joey Katebian in the 54th minute before goals to both Liam Boland and Evan Christodoulou capped off a dramatic night for the men in blue.
AVONDALE 4-1 MARCONI STALLIONS
Club-captain Phil Riccobene returned from injury to take his place in the starting XI with Yitay Towns making way for the returning Jeff Fleming. Stefan Zinni and Dillon Jakupi also took their places on the bench, with both returning from separate injuries.
The match started with a bang as Sheppard latched on to a loose shot from James Riccobene to toe-poke home the opener in just the second minute, the very first goal of the 2018 edition of the tournament and the first of what the club will hope to be many more in the competition.
Avondale’s celebrations were short-lived however, as Marconi midfielder James Andrew bamboozled three defenders to cut on to his right and finish past the out-stretching Chris Oldfield to level the scores at 1-1.
Avondale continued to press for a second goal with Elvis Kamsoba providing an outlet out wide. Oldfield was called into action on many occasions in the first half to bail his team out with some astute goalkeeping.
HALF TIME | Here are the scores at the break as the Round of 32 gets underway for 2018!Tune in to the second 45 minutes on Fox Sports 507.
The second half started brilliantly for the hosts as Joey Katebian’s brilliant solo effort put the Avengers ahead drawing three Marconi defenders before dispatching his shot past goalkeeper Nenad Vekic.
Playing off adrenaline, Avondale almost made it 3-1 in quick time as Boland’s long-range strike cannoned off the cross-bar in what would have been a trademark cup goal from the striker.
The 26-year old would get his chance in the 72nd minute. Dispatching a penalty after being brought down by Vekic.
The forward turned provider in the 86th minute playing a delightful back heel to midfielder Christodoulou, who fired his shot into the bottom right corner to put the icing on the cake and send the Avengers to the next stage of the FFA Cup.
Avondale now turn their attention to Saturday’s NPL fixture against Northcote City before focusing their attention back on the FFA Cup with the Round of 16 draw taking place on August 7.
STARTING XI | Oldfield (GK), Tavsancioglu, J. Riccobene, Fleming, Christodoulou (86′), Sheppard (2′), Archibald, P. Riccobene (C), Kamsoba, Katebian (54′), Boland (72′)
SUBS | Strano, Zinni, Towns, Jakupi, Markogiannakis (GK)