Apologies for the late submission of this round up, but apparently the one written and posted late on sunday evening (the one written below) failed to actually load up as expected. I’ve only just noticed the error, having decided to share an article that I have been asked to write about the lack of respect being shown to referees at all levels of the game, including the FIFA World Cup.
Before I focus on the cup and plate quarter finals, I thought I’d start by reporting on the two league fixtures played earlier today. Greenhithe City beat U-Striker 3-1 in the Masters Conference, whilst the battle of bottom two teams in League Two finished all square at two goals each, ensuring that the difference in points between All Red and Auckland Unicorns remains Two.
Unlike what we’ve seen so far in Russia, there were not too many surprise results recorded in the Premiership/Championship cup and plate this weekend. I guess that HNK Auckland’s 4-1 away win over Bohemian Celtics 1 could technically be considered an upset, with the Championship leaders making it through to the Semi Finals of the Cup at the expense of a Premiership team, but anyone that has watched HNK over the past two season would probably agree with my prediction that they’ll be fighting for the Premiership title next year. Zamantix Rovers Deuce, who beat Independiente 5-2 in their Quarter Final, will have to be at their very best to prevent HNK playing on finals day against either Internationale, who beat AUT 5-0, or Kiwi True Blues, who beat Auckland Wanderers 4-0. The KTB vs Inter Semi-Final should be a cracker of a game, with the winner having the potential to do the double (or even a double-double).
The stand out (and outstanding) result of the Plate came at Valonia Reserve where League One’s form team, the Western Wanderers, made it six wins in a row by battering their hosts, the Championship’s United FC, 8-0. Their League One counterparts, the Spermwhales, were less successful against their Championship opponents, FC Eagles, going down 6-3 at Keith Hay Park. The Wanderer’s reward is a Semi-Final against Khukuri, who profited from the University of Auckland’s inability to field a team in their 3-0 win. FC Eagles will face the holders Auckland Volcanoes in the other semi-final. The Premiership’s Volcanoes 4-1 win over Bohemian Celtics 2 means that they’re one step closer to the three-peat, having also won the plate in a penalty shootout in 2016.
Sorry Albany Green Machine, but the result of the round goes to the 2017 Master Conference Champions, the Old Fellas, who showed proved too good for the League 2 leaders, the Waitakere Rangers. The Old Fellas booked their place in the semi-final draw with a 4-0 away win. Their reward, however, is a game against Zamantix Force, who currently sit third in League One and reached the Semi-Finals with a 2-1 away win over another League One team, Double Rum Greenhithe. The other Semi-Final sees League One leaders Dalian FC play League Two new boys Albany Green Machine, who recorded their best result of the season by beating League One’s Zamantix Rovers Return 3-1 at Bill McKinley Park. Dalian managed to erase the memories of last week’s surprise loss to Western Wanderers by beating their title rivals Nixon Park 4-0 in their Quarter Final (AGM are going to have to play out of their skins to stop them going for the Double on Finals Day). If AGM beat Dalian, I promise to make it the first game that I report on that week.
The final four teams in the L1,L2,MC Plate are AUT FC 2, City Fringe, Kamarak and Viet Star, with AUT FC 2 reaching this stage thanks to Aotea Sport Eastern’s inability to field a team. They’ll face Kamarak, who beat Viet NZ 9-3 in their Quarter-Final fixture. City Fringe’s reward for beating Zamantix Rovers Old Boys 5-1 is a Semi-Final against Viet Star, the only League Two team still in the competition. Viet Star beat Serious FC 6-1 in their Quarter Final.
All Semi-Finals are scheduled to take place at neutral grounds on Sunday August 12th.
Next Sunday sees all the teams returning to league action with KTB away at Indy, Inter at home to Zamantix, Boh’s Celtic 1 hosting Volcanoes and AUT 1 hosting Wanderers in the Premiership.
First plays second again in the Championship with HNK looking to increase their lead over Boh’s Celtic 2. UOAFC host United and FC Eagles host Khukuri in the other games.
Dalian travel to DR Greenhithe in League 1, whilst AUT 2 travel to Bill McKinley Park for the third time in four weeks to play Nixon Park. The Western Wanderers will be looking to make it 7 from 7 against Zamantix RR, whilst the Spermwhales host Zamantix Force. kamarak host City Fringe in the other fixture.
The Unicorn’s have the bye this week in League Two, whilst All Red host Viet Star. Rangers host AGM and ASE host Saigon in the other two fixtures.
The Old Fullas will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Masters Conference with a win over Korean Tigers, whilst second placed Old Boys travel to third placed Old Fellas. Elsewhere, Serious host Greenhithe and Viet NZ host U-Striker.