FFA Cup Round of 16 Preview: Tuggeranong United vs Melbourne Victory

Can Tuggeranong pull off an upset? Source: Graham Tidy -

Can Tuggeranong pull off an upset? Source: Graham Tidy –

The TV broadcast is locked in, the home support has already been justified and the rugby posts are being taken down from the fields of Viking Park while another net is threaded onto a goalpost in the fast-changing football landscape of Australia. Ready yourself for a night of nothing but pure cup football as surprise underdog team Tuggeranong United take on the high-flying A-League side Melbourne Victory in a FFA Cup round of 16 fixture.

Melbourne Victory have so far enjoyed a productive pre-season having scored 31 goals to date and, once again, are expected to comfortable defeat Tuggeranong.  They cruised past Bayswater FC in their previous away match while showing no sings of fatigue at home against a strong Perth Glory outfit. Seven days later, they defeated Adelaide United following a 10-0 victory in Ballarat. And don’t expect any reprieve from their imperious form as once Socceroos Mark Milligan and Carl Valeriare expected to make a return to their side following their 3-2 win against Saudi Arabia in London.

New signings over the off-season include a Macedonian international in defence, a re-signing of Australian marquee Mark Milligan in midfield and a current A-League champion in attack to spice things up in front with former-Socceroo Archie Thompson.

Defensive Midfielder Carl Valeri will experience mixed emotions when he takes on Tuggeranong in Canberra, as he never would have expected to go head-to-head with the club that served him during his junior career.

It will be Tuggeranong United who will have to step up their game in this classic fixture of cup football, as the two-time A-League champions are a whole new level to their previous win against the South Hobart FC outfit.

A letter of pleads to the department of Capital Football and a nail-biting penalty shootout finish in Tasmania is what has put Tuggeranong on front pages across the country. Brothers Ethan and Zack Munster were arguably the stars of the penalty shoot-out while Tuggeranong goalkeeper Rohan Shepard pulled off an impressive save to give the Canberra side the winning edge.

2013 ACT NPL18s Player of the Year Thomas Ruiz will be unavailable for Tuggeranong in this historic clash following a dislocated ankle he sustained in a warm-up match just a week before the game at Viking Park. Thomas’ brother Christopher is experiencing to debut season into the Tuggeranong United starting squad but like many others in both the Capital League and the U18’s team, Christopher has to fight for his starting position in the match that is anticipated to attract a crowd of 6000.

Team Profiles

Tuggeranong United:

  • Founded: 1976
  • Current Competition: ACT Premier League.
  • ACT Premier League Champions: 1991 & 1992.
  • ACT Federation Cup Champions: 1989, 1993,1994 & 2013.
  • NPL Division 2 (State League 1) Champions: 1991

Melbourne Victory:

  • Current Competition: A-League
  • A-League Champions: 2007 & 2009.
  • AFC Champions League Qualification: 2008, 2010 & 2011.
  • A-League Runners Up: 2010.

Road to the Cup

Tuggeranong United:

ADFA 1-3

O’Connor Knights 0-4

South Hobart FC 1-1 (5-4 on penalties)

White Eagles 2-4

Melbourne Victory –

Adelaide United 1-0

Perth Glory 3-0

Ballarat FC 10-0

Bayswater FC 2-0

Eyes on

Rohan Shepherd (Tuggeranong United FC): Rohan Shepherd was the winning ingredient for Tuggeranong in their penalty shoot-out with South Hobart when he saved a shot from Victorian-import Caleb Ludlow in the dying moments of the tense contest.

While it is unsure if Shepherd will play on Tuesday following benching’s in Tuggeranong’s previous Capital League fixtures, if he is given the start, and plays like he did against South Hobart, that is all a man needs on his résumé.

Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory FC): Arguably the best marquee in the A-League at the moment, Berisha enters Melbourne after just having won the A-League with Brisbane Roar. The Albanian international is a two-time A-League champion and one-time golden boot winner in the A-League who has had a more than stellar beginning to the pre-season boasting 3 goals in Victory’s last two fixtures.

When scrolling down the list of achievements Berisha has acclaimed over the time in the A-League, nothing with the key words ‘FFA Cup’ can be found. Now we all know marquee players come to the A-League trophy-hungry after their successful careers elsewhere, let’s see what Berisha can end up with.


As much as I love cup-football fairytales, something’s are too good to be true. Tuggeranong will put up a fight, which should be enough to keep them on the footballing landscape in Australia, but not enough to give them the win. Besart Berisha to score more than once.

Until next year Tuggeranong!

Melbourne Victory to win 3-1.