Knockout Cup football is a different beast. The necessity of winning to progress to the next phase predetermines that notion.With the potential for a guaranteed Final 32 spot in the Australia Cup, Heidelberg United played host to St Albans – a team it defeated comfortably 3-0 just last Friday in the NPL.The similarities mostly end there. The ‘Bergers seemingly in control for much of the first half, and leading through a trademark Athiu goal, showcasing his pace, power and cool finishing.However, a St Albans equaliser later in the half following a penalty save denying the ‘Bergers a two goal advantage and the enforced substitution of the injured keeper Nick Eres left the tie delicately poised at the main break.Despite an obligatory Kaine Sheppard Cup tie goal, St Albans forced it into extra time drama with a late well struck Zwed goal. Nerves jangling at the Olympic Village …. with the possibility of a penalty shootout to decide proceedings.Despite squandering several chances that might have given it the advantage, Heidelberg’s winner came in almost comical fashion – with keeper Matti and Timmins somehow conspiring to spill an innocuous ball at the feet of a grateful Kenny Athiu to stab home his second goal of the night.So, for the second time in four days, Heidelberg prevailed over St Albans, this time booking a spot in the main draw of 32 ….. but did we not mention that Cup football is a different beast?
Match details:Round 7 Australia Cup (AET)Heidelberg United 3 (Athiu 7’, 116’; Sheppard 58’) – St Albans 2 (Grgic 34’, Zwed 88’)