As far as occasions go for Tuggeranong United Football Club, few have been – and will be – as monumental as this evening’s round of 16 FFA Cup match against Melbourne Victory.
It’s a clash that pits a minnow against a titan; a relatively unknown local club side (outside of the ACT) taking on a fully-fledged professional franchise with two A-League titles to its name.
That is the beauty of a competition such as the FFA Cup. It provides an opportunity for the amateur game to rub shoulders with the professional realm – even if the moment is only fleeting.
Tuggeranong’s players will tonight be given what may well be a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to play against the men whom some identify as their idols.
It will be special for the players no doubt, but the fans, having long advocated for this competition to be established, will cherish the moment too.
Fans of the round ball game in the United Kingdom have long been treated to occasions similar to tonight’s clash. The FA Cup, the competition the FFA Cup is modelled on, regularly serves up battles between a giant and a nonentity.
Such fixtures are celebrated, and often offer some remarkable subplots. The United-Victory clash is no exception.
Tonight’s match will see Carl Valeri, a Socceroo, face the club with which he played a majority of his junior football. It’s likely he will meet former junior teammate and crowd favourite Matt Mensor in the midfield, setting up what will surely be an intriguing battle between the two old friends.
Then there’s the venue, Viking Park. Now home to local rugby union club the Tuggeranong Vikings, the ground on which Viking Park stands was formerly occupied by Wanniassa Enclosed Oval, United’s old home.
What’s a special occasion without a sentimental touch?
Victory will enter the clash as overwhelming favourites, but this is football and in football anything can happen.
The only thing certain is that tonight will be a spectacle the players, the fans and the community will never forget.
Tuggeranong United FC v Melbourne Victory FC
When: Tuesday 16 September
Time: 7.30pm Kick-Off (Gate open 6pm)
Where: Viking Park Erindale
Tickets: Available from Ticketek