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Sixth Cup Title For MetroStars

Written by Antonis Pangonis (Front Page Football)

Two of the Northeast Adelaide’s powerhouse clubs met in the Federation Cup Final at ServiceFM Stadium, and with only three points separating NPL SA leaders MetroStars from second-placed Campbelltown City, it was always going to be a scintillating encounter.

Despite their close proximity, geographically and on the ladder, the recent meeting between the teams could not have been any more one-sided heading into the Federation Cup Final. Coming into the big game, MetroStars had defeated Campbelltown in each of their last five encounters.

To find the last time Campbelltown got the best of MetroStars you’d have to go back to the 21st of May 2021 when the Red Devils beat their opponents 4-2 in Newton. Michael Matricciani’s side was keen to make up for lost time and started the most confident of the two teams.

The MetroStars were caught flat-footed only four minutes after kick-off when Shogo Yoshikawa was played in behind the defence by Jake Halliday. The forward, who is one of the competitions leading assist providers, confidently finished past Isaac Carmody to give the Red Devils the start they desired.

Danny Graystone’s side was obviously shaken by Campbelltown’s aggression, with Carmody’s loose distribution opening the door for the Red Devils to continue applying pressure. Despite going close to conceding again, Hamish Gow breathed life into the MetroStars after his defence-splitting pass was met by Michael Cittadini who was fouled by goalkeeper Alex Woodlands in the box.

After receiving a booking, Woodlands spectacularly saved Gow’s spot kick, but he was not able to keep the midfielder’s follow-up out of his net. The MetroStars may have levelled proceedings, but Campbelltown continued to push on the other end, Marc Marino hitting the crossbar with an outside of the foot effort to send another warning shot to the shaky MetroStars outfit.

As the first half headed towards its conclusion, Hamish Gow sent fans at ServiceFM to their feet with a smashing effort bulleting into the top corner to give the MetroStars the lead in a half where it played far from its best football. Despite playing well and falling behind, Campbelltown had the final say of the first half, after Marc Marino found himself one on one against Isaac Carmody but saw his effort saved by the goalkeeper.

Instead of feeling crestfallen, finding themselves behind after a strong half of football, Campbelltown returned for the second half with a renewed sense of determination, once again putting MetroStars on the back foot.

The Red Devils were rewarded for their industry when Adam Piscioneri released Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio on the wing in the 64th minute, with the skilful winger proceeding to put the ball on a silver platter for his captain, Alex Mullen, who made no mistake to bring his side level.

With the match in the balance, and momentum squarely on Campbelltown’s side, a moment of madness saw Michael Matricciani’s men lose the upper hand in one fell swoop. Trying to break down a MetroStars counterattack in the 64th minute, Campbelltown goal scorer Shogo Yoshikawa kicked out wildly at Michael Cittadini.

After a coming together of both sides, Yoshikawa was sent off to set the stage for the MetroStars to continue their streak of dominance over their Northeastern neighbours.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Red Devils continued fighting against a MetroStars side that began dominating proceedings for the first time of the day. James Temelkovski’s header went close to giving his side the lead, but crept wide of the wrong side of the post.

Austin Ayoubi’s mazy run could not be contained by Campbelltown, but the midfielders shot missed by the finest of margins to ensure extra time would be required to decide the winner.

A cagy extra time period saw Campbelltown work tirelessly to ensure it survived for the penalty shootout. The MetroStars went close to finding a winner multiple times, but the Red Devils were able to nullify their opponents.

When the two sides seemed resigned to the lottery of the penalty shootout, second half substitute Ren Nagamtsu, an aerial specialist that has only scored a couple of goals with his feet since arriving to Klemzig from Japan in 2022, picked up the ball on the edge of the box and his snapshot miraculously found Alex Woodland’s corner.

Even at full stretch, the goalkeeper was unable to get to the striker’s shot, with the goal sparking wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands for the MetroStars.

After playing limited minutes in 2023, almost exclusively off the bench, and playing second fiddle to the dominant James Temelkovsi, Nagamatsu proved to be the unlikeliest of heroes as Danny Graystone’s men claimed the MetroStars’ first piece of silverware since the Federation Cup of 2017.

Campbelltown 2

MetroStars 3 (Gow 2, Nagamatsu)

Image credit - Adam Butler

*This match report is written by a third party and not written by MetroStars. We thank Antonis for his match reports.


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