Melbourne Knights to play Brisbane Roar in Australia Cup semi-final
Melbourne Knights will play Brisbane Roar in the Australia Cup semi-finals. Photo: AAP
Former National Soccer League powerhouse Melbourne Knights will take on A-League club Brisbane Roar for a spot in the Australia Cup finals.
The semi-final draw was conducted immediately after Sydney FC’s comfortable 3-0 win over Western United on Sunday confirmed the cup tournament’s final four.
Melbourne City will face Sydney FC in the other semi-final.
The dual NSL champion Knights are captained by former Socceroos fullback Ivan Franjic, who also played in Brisbane’s glory years under Ange Postecoglou.
Ben Cahn’s charges are attempting to become the second team outside the A-League to reach the final, following Sydney United 58 last year.
The Knights booked their ticket with a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over fellow NPL Victoria club Heidelberg United on Thursday night.
They will host Ross Aloisi’s Roar, which progressed with a dramatic 4-2 semi-final win over Western Sydney at Perry Park on Saturday.
On Sunday, Sydney took the lead at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium when Joe Lolley cleverly found Anthony Caceres, who had drifted between United’s defensive lines.
The midfielder took two clever touches to steady himself then powered a lovely shot into the far bottom corner in the 11th minute.
Eighteen minutes later, Lolley pounced on a Sebastian Pasquali turnover and fizzed the ball in towards Patrick Wood, who coolly scored Sydney’s second.
Lolley teed up Jack Rodwell for a tap-in at the back post in the 67th minute to seal progression.
On Saturday, the Wanderers drew first blood through Marcus Antonsson in the 18th minute but Brisbane’s Carlo Armiento equalised just 11 minutes later.
Brisbane seized the lead through youngster Thomas Waddingham in the 40th minute, and while Jack Clisby hit back in the 57th minute, it proved the Wanderers’ final blow.
Roar midfielder Joe Caletti scored the winner in the 64th minute and Henry Hore iced the game eight minutes later.
On Thursday, Heidelberg went 2-0 up after 25 minutes via Adrian Zahra’s penalty and Kaine Sheppard’s goal before the Knights gained a foothold via Gian Albano in the 29th minute.
And after Heidelberg were reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute when former ALM midfielder Anthony Lesiotis received a second yellow card, the Knights took full advantage.
Anton Kinnander equalised in the 90th minute and Mitchell Hore scored the winner six minutes later.
City reached the final four with a comeback away win over South Australian club MetroStars.
Austin Ayoubi shocked City when he drew first blood in the 27th minute.
But centre back Curtis Good headed home in the 84th minute and recruit Tolgay Arslan scored the dramatic winner five minutes into injury time.