The draw for the FFA Cup Round of 32 on Tuesday night has delivered some cracking match-ups to look forward to when the competition heats up next month.
We’ve picked out four of the best that promise to throw up the kind of entertainment and drama only the #MagicoftheCup can provide.
HELLENIC ATHLETIC v WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Talk about David v Goliath.
The tiny club from the Northern Territory have been handed a dream – but incredibly tough – draw for their debut on the national stage.
Hellenic were impressive coming through the qualifiers in the Top End, with the ageless Helio Carvalho (who is 48) their leading scorer along the way.
He scored a hat-trick in the final to reach the Round of 32 and is sure to be someone the Wanderers will focus on in the build-up.
And what an introduction to Australian football it promises to be in Darwin for new Western Sydney boss Markus Babbel.
As someone who won the FA Cup with Liverpool in 2001, Babbel is sure to take this competition seriously and won’t allow his side to take the part-timers from the Top End lightly.
AVONDALE SC v MARCONI STALLIONS
The all-Member Federation clash that jumps out sees Victorian NPL high-flyers Avondale taking on ex-NSL and current NSW NPL side Marconi.
Both outfits are packed with talent and will fancy their chances of going deep into the competition.
For Avondale, they have a player who knows all about this competition and will be the man the Stallions will need to stop.
Striker Liam Boland is a regular scorer in the FFA Cup, including a stunning strike for Green Gully a couple of years ago which eliminated the Central Coast Mariners.
But Marconi, back in the NPL after a couple of seasons in the second-tier in NSW, boasts a squad with plenty of Hyundai A-League experience, including the likes of Mateo Poljak, Michael Beauchamp, Marko Jesic and Marc Warren.
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS v SYDNEY FC
It’s a local derby pitting a team from western Sydney against the Sky Blues.
While it’s not the Wanderers it’s still a mouth-watering match-up in this Member Federation v Hyundai A-League clash.
Rockdale are coached by former Sydney FC midfielder Paul Reid, who still works for the club in a community role.
Could his inside knowledge of the Sky Blues – the 2017 FFA Cup champions – help mastermind one of the biggest upsets in Cup history?
Reid isn’t the only Sydney connection in the Suns squad, with the likes of Alec Urosevski, Bai Antoniou and Trent McClenahan all previous playing for the Sky Blues.
And Rockdale’s keeper is none other than former Wanderers gloveman Ante Covic, who would love to keep a clean sheet against Sydney FC.
It will also be a first competitive match at the helm for new Sky Blues coach Steve Corica since taking the reins from Socceroos-coach-in-waiting Graham Arnold.
PERTH GLORY v MELBOURNE VICTORY
In one of three all Hyundai A-League clashes, Tony Popovic will get a serious early test of his Glory rebuild when they host grand final winners Victory.
Popovic is looking to overhaul Glory’s playing style and culture and the battle with Kevin Muscat’s side will be the perfect indication if he’s on the right track.
Glory has a strong record in the FFA Cup, making the final in the first two years of the competition, including a 2-0 loss to Victory in the 2015 decider.
Like Perth, Victory is set to have a vastly different squad for the new season and it will be interesting to see how quickly they can settle in what will be very early into their pre-season schedule.
This article was originally published at: www.theffacup.com.au/news/4-big-match-ups-ffa-cup-round-32