And then there were four as Tiger Turf Cup Semi-Finals loom


Super League front runners Bonnyrigg White Eagles were the first side to book their ticket into the Semi-Finals after a hard fought 1-0 victory over TeleChoice Premier League outfit A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers at the Bonnyrigg Sports Centre last Tuesday.
The only goal of the match came in the 60th minute via a penalty which White Eagles defensive midfielder Nikola Zonjic calmly slotted home.
There was high drama at the Belmore Sports Ground as Sydney Olympic defeated staunch rivals the Marconi Stallions 3-1 on penalties after the game ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Olympic?s young gun Chris Triantis opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a neat goal but the Stallions responded in the 24th minute when striker Tolgay Ozbey was left unmarked at the far post and made no mistake in pulling the game on equal terms.
In what was an action packed game, the Blues hit the lead once more in the 28th minute when Argentine defender and A-League target Emmanuel Zunino scored a scrappy goal from a Shannon Cole corner.
The Stallions weren?t finished there however and in the 33rd minute got their equaliser and made it 2-2 when Ante Deur tapped home one of the simplest goals of his career.
The match spilled into extra time after both sides failed to score in the second half and it was David Barrett?s men that thought they had the game covered in the 104th minute through a Nahuel Arrarte penalty.
Referee Kris Griffith-Jones blew for a handball on Olympic?s Paul Wither in the box which ended his evening also after he received his second booking of the match.
Arrarte stepped up and converted the penalty putting the away side in the lead.
It was to be Triantis? evening though as the youngster proved yet again why he is one to look out for in the TeleChoice Premier League when he struck the net in terrific fashion after a mazy run in the 115th minute which sent the game into penalties.
The Blues ran out 3-1 victors from the penalty spot as Shannon Cole, Marino Musumeci and James Kovas all converted their kick?s while for the Stallions, Tallan Martin scored his but Ozbey hooked his effort over the bar and both Deur and Chris Nunes? shots were saved brilliantly by Olympic keeper Michael Herbet.
At a cold Francis Park, current TeleChoice Premier League leaders Sutherland Sharks continued its winning streak for 2008 with a 3-0 victory over Division One hopefuls Blacktown Spartans which also saw a healthy local crowd on hand.
Current Andreas Golden Boot leader Brad Boardman continued his fantastic form in scoring the goals for the Sharks as he opened the scoring with a neat header in the first half while two more followed for Brian Brown?s men thanks to the efforts of rapid attacker Matthew Hall who bagged a brace.
It was a valiant effort for the Spartans who did rather well in getting to the Quarter-Final stages of the Tiger Turf Cup, but the Sharks proved to be a tougher obstacle which all but ended Blacktown?s fairytale run.
Michael Katz, Brendan Gan and David Huxley served the Shire boys well with notable performances from the trio.
The Spartans were well served by Glen McPherson who almost put his name on the scoresheet after a blistering shot which was superbly saved by Sharks keeper Phillip Zabaks in the first half.
Zabaks then pulled off another neat save in the second half and kept a clean sheet for the Sharks after he saved a one-on-one effort from Luke Infanti.
Finally, Bankstown City Lions confirmed the final spot in the 2008 Tiger Turf Cup Semi-Finals with a 3-1 win over Super League outfit Rockdale City Suns at Jensen Park.
Bankstown City Lions midfielder Phillip Makrys converted from the spot in the first half before the Suns equalised prior to half-time.
Robbie Mileski restored the lead for the home side in the second half and continued his terrific form in 2008 with a neat goal and then he doubled his tally as the Lions finished the match 3-1 victors.
Experienced player/coach Peter Tsekenis has set his sights in his side claiming some silverware for 2008 with the Tiger Turf Cup now possibly being one of the only things on hand to win for the club.
?We?ve set ourselves a target for the rest of the season and one of them is to win the Tiger Turf Cup and it?s obviously motivating the players in a huge way.
?We haven?t ruled out a finals series finish as results could possibly go our way as you never know in football but we just want to end the year off on a high with winning our final matches of the season.
?But the Tiger Turf Cup is certainly something the club and players would love to lift at the end of the season.?
The Tiger Turf Cup Semi-Final pairings will take place at Football NSW headquarters with the draw released this week with both matches set to be played on the 20th of July at Seymour Shaw Park.
Stay tuned for more on this.
Tiger Turf Cup Quarter-Final Results
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 0
Blacktown Spartans 0 Sutherland Sharks 3
Bankstown City Lions 3 Rockdale City Suns 1
Sydney Olympic 2 Marconi Stallions 2 (AET 3-3, Sydney Olympic won 3-1 on penalties)
-By Mark Stavroulakis