MetroStars target more success after FFA Cup SA triumph
METROSTARS coach Robbie Saraceno says his side’s FFA Cup SA triumph has fulfilled just one of its ambitions on soccer’s local and national fronts.
The Klemzig club secured back-to-back cups with a 2-0 victory over Adelaide City in Saturday’s decider at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Success also put MetroStars in Thursday’s draw for the FFA Cup round of 32 — the club’s third straight appearance in the national knockout competition.
“There’s a lot of happy boys and they deserve it because they’ve worked pretty hard this year,” Saraceno said.
“I’m super proud of them and they’ll enjoy themselves tonight (Saturday).
“But the boys know that this week we’ll be back into it and there’s no time to celebrate too much.
“We’ve had a bit of a taste of the (national) FFA Cup, so hopefully we draw another good team that we can have a shot at.”
MetroStars Jonathan Negus and Adelaide City's Paul Blefari battle for the ball. Picture: Matt Loxton
SA Premier League leader City entered the clash as favourite, but was rocked when MetroStars took an early lead through former Black and Whites striker Jonathan Negus.
The cup holder doubled its advantage midway through the second half as Christian Esposito drove home a first-time finish from an angle.
City dominated possession but was frustrated by MetroStars resolute defence, led brilliantly by skipper Michael D’Aloisio and man-of-the-match Anthony Solagna.
Saraceno said soaking up pressure then launching lightning counter attacks was the key to knocking Damian Mori’s men off their stride.
“We knew we were going to almost sacrifice them getting on the ball,” Saraceno said.
“We worked a lot this (past) week on when we did win that ball back, hitting them hard and direct.
“Adelaide City just found it really hard to break us down.”
The Black and Whites hopes were extinguished 10 minutes from time when substitute Evan Kostopoulos was sent off for an apparent headbutt.
Negus, who won eight major trophies at Oakden from 2004-14, said victory over his former club was sweet.
“No one gave us a chance against Adelaide City, but what better way to do it,” Negus, 33, said.
“We were confident that our game plan would beat theirs without having to sacrifice too much.
“This is probably my last cup final, but I’ve won five (cups) now so I’m happy with that.”
MetroStars made the FFA Cup national round of 16 in 2014, but were eliminated at the first hurdle by Victoria’s Bentleigh Greens last season.
Negus said his teammates were targeting more silverware after rising to third in the league.
Christian Esposito celebrates his goal with MetroStars’ teammates. Picture: Matt Loxton
“We want the (league and cup) double,” he said.
“There’s a belief within this team that on our day, we are the best team in the league.
“We’ve just been a little inconsistent here and there, and let some results slip.
“We’ve done everything we’ve set out to do so far, so I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t push on and be the champions.”