Adelaide United take on Victorian National Premier League outfit Bentleigh Greens in the Semi-finals of the FFA Cup 2018 on Friday night.
It promises to be an intriguing clash as the Reds will be looking to reach the final for the second year running but hope to go one better than last season’s loss to Sydney FC.
But it will not be easy with the Greens boasting the best cup record amongst NPL clubs in the tournament’s history.
Bentleigh Greens was established in 1986 by members from the Greek Cypriot community and worked their way to the top-flight in the early 1990s. The club have been a mainstay in the first division since 2010 and after the appointment of head coach, John Anastasiadis, in 2011 the Greens have enjoyed great success. In the inaugural FFA Cup, Bentleigh reached the semi-finals, bowing out to Perth Glory.
Following a second-placed finish during the 2015 regular season, the Greens won a maiden top-flight championship. They finished the 2016 campaign as premiers for the first time, while also lifting the Dockerty Cup and reached the Quarter Finals of the FFA Cup.
Bentleigh suffered a 4-0 Round of 16 exit to Western Sydney Wanderers, but went on to be crowned champions in 2017 thanks to a 2-1 extra-time win over Heidelberg United.
Anastasiadis’ men finished the regular season one point behind Heidelberg, but defeated the Bergers 2-0 in the local cup competition to claim a second Dockerty Cup in three years. However, in the finals series, the Greens endured one of the most dramatic losses against Avondale FC, conceding three goals in the final three minutes of extra-time to fall 4-3 in the semi-finals.
FFA Cup 2018 run
The Greens became the sixth state league team to knock out a Hyundai A-League outfit courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix in the Round of 32, despite playing with 10 men for more than 55 minutes. Bentleigh thrashed Broadmeadow Magic 4-0 in Newcastle in the last 16 before dispatching fellow Victorian rivals Heidelberg 1-0 with an 87th minute winner from Jacob Alexander.
Forward Matthew Thurtell bagged 16 goals in 27 matches to lead his team’s top-scoring chart in NPL Victoria. Chris Lucas netted nine goals during the regular season, in addition to firing a second-half hat-trick in that win against Broadmeadow in the FFA Cup. Playmaker, Tyson Holmes, pulls the strings in midfield while Velibor Mitrovic is also another attacking outlet.
Adelaide United face Bentleigh Greens in the Semi-finals of the FFA Cup 2018 on Friday, 5 October at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex. Kick-off is at 7.00 PM ACST. Watch live and exclusive on Fox Sports or the My Football Live App.