The match was highlighted by flowing and attacking football and capped off with a world-class goal from a man who is sure to headline many matches in the A-League.
The match started with the locals on the front foot. Jason Browne combined well with the returning Erick Anabalon and his early shot was saved well by Matthew Nash in the A.P.I.A. goal. Further pressure from the front men, aided by Panagiotis Nikas and Nathan Ralph behind them, was not capitalised upon and in the 12? minute the first goal went the other way.
Good lead up work by Franco Parisi led to a cross from the left, which was converted by Robbie Younis at the far post for the first goal. Three minutes later Penrith were awarded a penalty after Nikas was tripped up in the area, Anabalon converting the penalty successfully.
In the 22? minute A.P.I.A. were in front again, also from the spot. William Stuart accidentally handled the ball at the far post and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Younis blasted the ball home to score his second.
Penrith were not done though and the retiring Javier Mancino became more involved in the game and was a constant thorn in the side for the A.P.I.A. defence. However A.P.I.A.?s attack was not standing still either with Iain King running onto a long ball and curling his shot just over the bar with a great effort.
Minute 29? saw Ralph in on goal but Nash spread himself well and saved his team from conceding. Moments later, Nash made an error whilst kicking the ball after he saved it as he handled the ball outside his area and the locals were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area. Panny Nikas lined up and scored with his free-kick avoiding all the traffic in front of him to put his side back on level terms.
Younis completed his hat trick in the first-half on 40? minutes from the penalty-spot. Chad Taylor, having regained his place in-between the sticks from Daniel Schwarzer, was adjudged to have felled his A.P.I.A. opponent on the edge of the area by the referee. Younis went the same way with his penalty and got the same result as previously.
It was not to be the last of the drama in the half though. In the 42? minute the ball crossed the line (twice) as Penrith squeezed the ball through the defence on the line but the referee awarded a free-kick to A.P.I.A., something he found in the general melee although his linesman had headed up the park as if it were a goal.
In the 53? minute Jason Browne put a great cross in from the left and Javier Mancino headed it toward the target but a brilliant one handed tip around the post by Nash saved the day for the Tigers. Then two minutes later Nathan Ralph volleyed the ball over the bar.
Anabalon had a great chance moments later but he could not the touch the ball with his head as it just bounced over him when any touch would have beaten Nash and sent the home crowd into raptures.
Just after the hour Younis broke free but young Yiannis Fragogiannis (surely a superstar in the making) and the experienced Luke Boyd combined well to cut out the danger. Two minutes later it looked like more trouble for A.P.I.A. as two defenders hit each other after Ben Wright (another last game player) put in a very dangerous cross.
The game continued to go end-to-end and A.P.I.A. was awarded a dangerous free-kick when William Stuart held Younis on the edge of the area. The free kick went straight over the bar and away from danger. William Stuart then made amends by dispossessing Robbie Younis on the edge of the area when it looked to be a dangerous situation brewing.
In the 71? minute Wright nearly capped his final game off with a goal but his volley went over the crossbar.
Two minutes later Franco Parisi put the ball just over the bar. However, Younis showed how it was done by curling a shot around Stuart and Taylor and into the back of the net. The goal was world class and capped off a great season for Younis. His four goals on the day meant he took out the golden boot award for the season.
Jason Browne tried an overhead kick in the 77? minute and then Michael Cromar volleyed the ball well wide. Younis nearly had goal number five a minute later, and that would have been critical. Had he scored from the cross A.P.I.A. would have had enough goals to equal Sydney United on goal difference and would have gone fifth on goals scored.
Instead Penrith applied the pressure through substitute Christopher Gomez who was free on the left in the 88? minute and hit his shot over the bar. Then in the first minute of time added on Gomez curled in the ball from the left and Browne headed home denying his old team any hope of a Top-Five finish.
As if that was not enough Browne then shot the ball just over the crossbar, and with the last kick of the game, Mancino nearly capped off his career with a goal but his effort hit the wrong side of the side netting.
After the match John Romeo spoke praise of his players.
?What can you say in a situation like that? I am proud of the boys and especially pleased for Robbie Younis. His fourth goal was world class and caps off his wonderful career with us. He is sure to light up the A-League with strikes like that. I would like to pay credit to both teams out there today, there was fantastic football played and both sides are a credit to this competition.?
For Penrith Nepean United the 2-2 draw between Manly and Macarthur, and Blacktown losing meant the side did not finish bottom in the TeleChoice Premier League, nor was it relegated, as Macarthur finished behind them in the club championship.
Abbas Saad was disappointed with the final score but pleased for the club as a whole: ?Considering we lost so badly to them in the first round we can hold our heads up today. There was great football played today and we held our own. Both sides played in the true spirit of the game and I was proud of my boys.?
Penrith-Nepean United 3 (Erick Anabalon 17?, Panny Nikas 33?, Jason Browne 90?)
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 4 (Robbie Younis 12?, 22?, 40?, 74?)
Venue: CUA Stadium
Referee: Kohdr Yaghi
Penrith-Nepean United: 1. Chad Taylor; 20. Ben Wright (4. Ryan O?Shea 83?), 7. Javier Mancino, 5. Luke Boyd, 13. Nathan Ralph, 2. William Stuart, 11. Erick Anabalon, 29. Panny Nikas, 8. Stewart Van Bentum (16. Michael Cromar 78?), 19. Yianni Fragogiannis (3. Christopher Gomez 78?), 10. Jason Browne
Substitutes Not Used: 42. Daniel Schwarzer, 23. Matthew Liddall
Yellow Cards: Wright 21?, Anabalon 45?
Red Cards: Nil
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Matthew Nash; 3. John Kelso, 4. Daniel Clifford, 5. Michael Galluzzo, 6. Paul Kohler, 7. Stephen Kayes, 8. Ian King, 9. Robert Younis, 10. Franco Parisi, 12. Marton Vass (18. Simon Ryan 61?), 13. David D?Appuzzo (14. Joseph Bruni 80?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Matthew Kasbarran, 23. Christian Care, 32. Waridi Jayawii
Yellow Cards: Parisi 71?, Galluzzo 78?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Robert Younis (ALT)
2 – Panagiotis Nikas (PNU)
1 – Jason Browne (PNU)
-By Stuart Jones