South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South qualify for FFA Cup National Round of 32

South qualify for FFA Cup National Round of 32

On Wednesday night South Melbourne played Dandenong City in the seventh round of the FFA Cup, with both sides vying for a place in the nationwide round of 32. It was City’s first appearance in this round of the Cup, while South had been here three times before. South made just the one change from their weekend league win against Bulleen, with the unavailable Luke Adams replaced by Mathew Foschini, who returned from suspension.

South flew out of the blocks for the third straight game, bagging a goal after just two minutes when Nick Epifano’s shot flew past City’s keeper Damir Salcin to give South a dream start. The lead didn’t last long however, as a minute later Dandenong replied with Filipovic heading past Nikola Roganovic to level the game. South continued to create opportunities to retake the lead; first Milos Lujic had a golden chance to bag his hundredth goal for the club but headed wide – then a chance fell to Marcus Schroen who fired his shot wide after some great build up play from Epifano.

Brad Norton and Matthew Millar both had long distance shots that sailed over the bar after 25 minutes, and South would be made to pay for not taking their chances when in the 27th minute Filipovic scored his second goal putting Dandenong into the lead. South then staggered into the half time break not showing much after conceding the goal.

Chris Taylor made a tactical switch at the break, taking Stefan Zinni off for Leigh Minopoulos. South attempts to draw level came close in the 50th minute when a chance fell to Luijc, who fired over the bar after doing well to control the ball, then Epifano had a chance fall his way only to also send his shot high over the goal. Six minutes later a massive chance fell to Epifano to level the game after a mix up at the back by the City defenders, but his shot went agonisingly just wide of the far post.

As with the first half, South would be made to pay for not taking their chances, with former South defender (and 2012 club golden boot) Shaun Kelly finding the back of the net for City to give them a 3-1 lead. Serious concern started to fall across Lakeside Stadium with the prospect of South falling short of the FFA Cup round of 32 for a third time in four years seemingly set to become a reality.

Four minutes later Filipovic had the chance to get his hat-trick and end the contest but shot wide. Down the other end, Minopoolos had a chance putting his shot on target but the Salcin was up to the task. In the 71st minute Shaun Kelly scored his second goal, this time from a corner, with a header which looked like the goal that would end South’s 2017 Cup run.

Taylor then made another change Jesse Daley coming on to replace Luke Pavlou. A glimmer of hope came South’s way in the 82nd minute when Lujic drew a foul from a City defender Enes Sivic in the box and earned South a penalty, and Sivic’s dismissal for a second yellow card. Luijc fired the ball into the top corner of the net, scoring his hundredth goal for the club, but there was no time to celebrate such a milestone as Luijc sprinted into the net to pick up the ball and run it back to half way, with the South fans urging their team on to recover the two goal deficit with eight minutes remaining.

South showed a spring in their step after the goal, holding onto possession, and hitting each pass with conviction and urgency they would be rewarded in the 87th minute when a pass by Epifano into the box found Minopoulos, whose pass across the face of goal found its way to Lujic for a tap in from two metres out bringing South back to within a goal. Dandenong looking tired and struggled to keep up with the rejuvenated South midfield. South pushed forward one more time as the 90th minute; a corner spilled out to Daley on the edge of the box, with his shot skipping through a crowded penalty area and into the back of the net, drawing South level and sending the home crowd into disarray.

As the fans and players celebrated the fourth official threw up the board showing there would be a minimum of five minutes of additional time. South pushed forward trying to claim the win in regulation time, which they would do after earning a penalty in the 94th minute, after Lujic’s header was handballed by a City defender in the box. Lujic took the responsibility of returning South Melbourne to the national stage, stepping up and firing the ball high into the roof of the net, completing the comeback. After the full time whistle blew, pandemonium broke out as South players, coaches and fans celebrated as South booked their spot in the FFA Cup round of 32.

As well as seeing South move into the national stage of the FFA Cup for the first time since 2015, the win also South qualify for the semi-finals of the Dockerty Cup, where we have been drawn against Bentleigh Greens. In the meantime the focus now returns to league action this Sunday as South Melbourne play Port Melbourne at Lakeside at 4pm.


South Melbourne 5 (Epifano 2, Lujic 83, 87, 90+5, Daley 90+2)
Dandenong City 4 (Filipovic 3, 27, Kelly 61, 71)

Dockety Cup Semi Final Draw

Heidelberg Unitedv Hume City TBA
South Melbourne v Bentleigh Greens TBA

Privacy Preference Center