An incredible 772 member federation clubs competed for a spot in the FFA Cup Round of 32, and those 772 have now been whittled down to 22.
Ten Hyundai A-League clubs will join them to make up the Round of 32, but it’s those member federation clubs where some of the best stories can be found.
From the rich heritage of one of New South Wales powerhouse to the giant-killing run of one second-tier Western Australia entrant, and a qualifying clean sheet in the Northern Territory.
In the final of five dives into narratives surrounding the entrants in the 2018 edition of the FFA Cup, we take a look at whether Bentleigh Greens can finally get the job done over a Hyundai A-League opponent and why their history suggests it might be third time lucky.
ONE STEP FURTHER
Bentleigh Greens is one club which has a decorated history in the FFA Cup, and have qualified for all but one Round of 32.
Only four member federation clubs have appeared at the quarterfinals or later in the competition – the Greens are one of them.
In 2016, Bentleigh made it to the final eight of the competition.
They did it the hard way – a penalty shootout win over NPL Victoria opponents Hume City, and an extra-time win over Devonport City.
They were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Melbourne Victory.
It didn’t quite match their endeavours in the inaugural FFA Cup though. Wins over NPL NSW sides Blacktown City and Sydney Olympic earned them passage to the quarter-finals, where Bentleigh beat Adelaide City in extra-time.
They missed out on a spot in the final after defeat to Perth Glory.
HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE HISTORY
For clubs around the country, the potential for a draw against Hyundai A-League opposition and the chance of knocking off a big club is what the FFA Cup is all about.
Bentleigh Greens has hosted top-tier opposition on two occasions – the first in 2014, where they played Perth Glory for a spot in the inaugural FFA Cup final.
They gave a good showing of themselves and nearly opened the scoring, but ultimately went down 3-0.
They had another chance at knocking off a Hyundai A-League opponent in the 2016 quarter-finals, drawn against Melbourne Victory.
Just over 25km separates the two teams, and it took more than an hour for Victory to break Bentleigh down. Eventually, Melbourne emerged 2-0 winners.
THE CHALLENGE AHEAD
After two good showings against Hyundai A-League opposition in the past but without reward, Bentleigh Greens might just fancy their chances this time around.
They’ve been drawn against Wellington Phoenix in the Round of 32.
It’s a Wellington side which is more of an unknown than ever before.
They have a new coach in Mark Rudan who has made just one major signing in his tenure so far, former Newcastle United centre-back Steven Taylor.
In four years of FFA Cup, there have only been five occasions where Hyundai A-League clubs have been beaten by member federation clubs. All of those defeats came in the Round of 32 – can Bentleigh score a famous victory?
It’s the feature match on FOX Sports, kick-off is 7:30pm (AEST) on Tuesday August 7.