Heidelberg United established themselves as giant-killers when they knocked out Perth Glory in the FFA Cup’s round of 32, and they are now looking to build on that achievement when they host Adelaide United in the sudden-death quarter-final in mid-September.
The Bergers became one of a handful of non-A-League sides to dispose of A-League opposition in a knockout game when they eliminated the West Australians.
But they are under no illusions about the difficulty of the task that confronts them when they entertain the Reds at their Olympic Village ground.
“It’s a huge challenge for us, but we showed with the way we played against Perth and the mentality we took into that game that at our best we can give these teams a game,” coach George Katsakis said as he contemplated the quarter-final draw.
“We are delighted to get such a big club as Adelaide. They won the A-League the season before last and they have some excellent players. It’s a great test for my players and I want to reward the boys who have got us this far,” Katsakis said.
Heidelberg got to a similar stage of the competition in 2015, when they faced cross-town rivals Melbourne City.
The old Olympic Village venue was rocking that night with the crowd for the match – which City won 5-0 – put at more than 11,000.
Katsakis says he is not expecting such a turnout for the visit of Adelaide, but believes that a 6000-plus attendance is not unachievable.
It’s been a terrific campaign for the former NSL club as it has already won the Dockerty Cup (Victoria’s knockout cup competition) and the NPL Victoria’s minor premiership.
Katsakis’ team is next in action on Friday night, when it hosts Oakleigh in the NPL semi-final, with a place in the following weekend’s grand final up for grabs.
South Melbourne, who have yet to face an A-League team in their run to the last eight, are also up against NPL opposition as they travel to Queensland for their quarter-final against Gold Coast City. The Queenslanders were formally known as Palm Beach SC, and in that guise eliminated South from the 2015 competition when they won a round of 32 game on penalties.
The Sydney v Melbourne City quarter-final will attract most attention, but the other match is a real old style derby, when NPL NSW club Blacktown City host Western Sydney Wanderers.
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