From 'heartbreak' to high note? Heidelberg's huge week nears a crescendo

Weeks don't come much bigger than this for Heidelberg United.

It's one massive match after another and no time to rest for George Katsakis' side.

Top of the agenda is converting a superb NPL Victoria regular season, in which they finished top by a point, into Grand Final glory against Avondale FC on Sunday.

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But while Avondale are already out of the FFA Cup, Katsakis and his squad don't have the luxury of knowing they can expend every last drop of energy.

The local decider lands just three days out from their own FFA Cup Quarter Final date with Bentleigh Greens.

And then there is the small matter of healing the mental and physical wounds inflicted in midweek.

Heidelberg United Adelaide Comets

Rough start

Heidelberg headed to Queensland on Tuesday hopeful of advancing to the NPL Finals Series Grand Final.

They returned empty-handed and exhausted.

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The visitors were forced to play for an hour with 10 men against Lions FC after losing striker Harry Noon to a red card.

Sean Ellis still managed to cancel out Nathan Shepherd's early opener and Heidelberg battled their way through extra-time, only to cruelly have their dream ended on penalties.

"It's heartbreaking, especially to manage to get the goal back with ten players and dominate," coach Katsakis told Neos Kosmos.

"We created two very good opportunities to win it. The boys were devastated.

"At the end of the day, it's a matter of trying to lift their morale and confidence at the moment, and I'm sure that during the next few days, we'll manage to do that."

Tom Cahill

Bouncing back

The shootout defeat in Brisbane followed Heidelberg's own spot-kick success over Oakleigh Cannons in the NPL Victoria Semi Finals.

Now, a new champion will be crowned.

It could be a heavy-legged contest given Avondale have endured a similarly tough schedule, pushing Sydney FC all the way in the FFA Cup on Wednesday.

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Can the Bergers dig deepest?

Prevail at AAMI Park and confidence will be restored for the final act of a whirlwind eight days.

Semi Final showdown

Blocking Heidelberg's path to the FFA Cup's final four is a familiar foe.

Bentleigh, Semi Finalists in 2014, will be determined to get square against the team that pipped them to top spot in NPL Victoria.

The winner could be the last Member Federation team in the tournament, depending on whether APIA Leichhardt's giant-killing ways continue at home to Adelaide United.

From there, a potential berth on the big stage awaits.

It's a coveted prize at the end of a momentous week in Heidelberg's history.

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This article was originally published on the FFA Cup website.
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