Heidelberg eyeing another FFA Cup giant-killing run

Heidelberg United is one of five Member Federation clubs from Victoria that will be involved in the FFA Cup Round of 32 in 2018.

But unlike the other four – Northcote FC, Port Melbourne Sharks, Avondale and Bentleigh Greens – the Warriors didn’t have to come through the tricky preliminary rounds in Victoria.

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As a result of their stunning win in the Australian National Premier League final last year, Heidelberg were the only Member Federation club to automatically get their spot in this year’s competition.

The 2018 FFA Cup will be the third time the former NSL outfit has featured in Australia’s biggest knockout competition.

While they didn’t qualify in 2014 and 2016, they certainly made an impact in both 2015 and last year, reaching the quarter-finals.

Here’s a look back at the club’s history in the FFA Cup.

2015

On the opening night of the 2015 FFA Cup, Heidelberg made the trip to Northern NSW for a tricky clash against Broadmeadow Magic.

But they had the win sewn up by half-time with Jack Petrie, Kaine Sheppard and Daniel Heffernan all finding the net to give them a 3-0 lead at the break.

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Scott Petitt pulled one back for the home side with 16 minutes left but Heidelberg saw it out to move on to the last 16.

It was former NSL club Sydney United that came to Victoria for this clash, with Heidelberg scoring early and late to secure the 2-0 win.

Heffernan struck inside the first minute to give them the perfect start, before Kenny Athiu made the result safe three minutes from full-time.

Heidelberg celebrate Kenny Athiu's match-sealing goal against Sydney United.
Heidelberg celebrate Kenny Athiu's match-sealing goal against Sydney United.

For the quarter-final, more than 11,000 fans crammed into Olympic Village for the clash against Hyundai A-League heavyweights Melbourne City.

Heidelberg pulled off a huge coup before the match, signing 116-cap Greek international Kostas Katsouranos on a guest deal to play against City.

He wasn’t able to have a huge influence on proceedings though as Aaron Mooy scored a hat-trick as City cruised to a 5-0 win.

Uruguayan import Bruno Fornaroli scored either side of Mooy’s treble to grab a brace as City advanced to the last four and ended a memorable run for Heidelberg.

Ex-Greek international Kostas Katsouranis played against Melbourne City in 2015.
Ex-Greek international Kostas Katsouranis played against Melbourne City in 2015.

2017

George Katsakis’ men were drawn to play Hyundai A-League side Perth Glory – FFA Cup finalists in 2014 and ’15 – in the Round of 32 in a tough first-up assignment.

But at a heaving Olympic Village, Heidelberg ran all over an underdone Glory with Kenny Athiu’s goal early in the second-half enough for a 1-0 win.

It was nothing less than United deserved as they became the fourth Member Federation club to dump out the full-time professionals from the Hyundai A-League.

It was a trip to Sydney United up next in the Round of 16 in a contest which went all the way to a penalty shootout.

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After scores were locked at 0-0 at full-time, Heidelberg looked to have got the job done when Sean Ellis buried Athiu’s flick-on to give them the lead in the second-half of extra-time.

Heidelberg players after Ellis's goal against United in extra-time.
Heidelberg players after Ellis's goal against United in extra-time.

But with just under 90 seconds remaining, supersub Adrian Vranic equalised with a low finish after an excellent Panny Nikas through ball.

After Nikas missed from the spot for the home side, Heidelberg keeper Christopher Theodoridis sealed the deal by saving Yianni Fragogiannis’s final attempt.

Heidelberg then had to come up against Adelaide United in the last eight and despite another spirited display, the Reds had a little bit too much class.

Winger Nikola Mileusnic was the difference between the two sides on the night, completing his hat-trick just after the hour-mark in a 3-0 win for the Hyundai A-League outfit.

How far can Heidelberg go in 2018? They face Northern NSW side Charlestown City Blues in the Round of 32at Olympic Village on Wednesday, August 1.

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This article was originally published on the FFA Cup website.
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