Calder United will be aiming to win the NIKE F.C. Cup for the fifth time in a row as it faces South Melbourne in the 2022 Final on Sunday afternoon.
Calder United vs South Melbourne
Sunday, 7 August
Kick-off: 4:00pm AEST
Valley Park Events Centre, Meadow Heights
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Optus Sport, NPL.tv and Football Victoria’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Tickets: Fans can attend for free, with no bookings or tickets necessary.
Calder going for five in a row
Calder United has made the NIKE F.C. Cup its own in recent years, winning the last four editions of the competition.
A 3-1 win over Bulleen Lions kick-started the run in 2017 before consecutive wins over Box Hill United in 2018 and 2019.
The competition was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 before Calder returned in style in 2021, defeating South Melbourne 3-0 in the final to claim the fourth title in succession.
Mark Torcaso’s side will look to carry that form into another showpiece event on Sunday, heading into an exciting final month of the domestic calendar.
Road to the Final
There were goals galore for both teams in their opening games on the way to the final, as Calder defeated Melbourne Knights 11-0 while South Melbourne scored a crazy 20-0 victory over Glen Waverley SC.
Calder had a much tougher time of it in the following round against Essendon Royals, with an 85th minute own goal eventually securing a 1-0 win before a 5-0 triumph over Boroondara Eagles in the quarter-finals.
Torcaso’s side then overcame Bulleen in a thrilling semi-final, with a superb late winner from Melissa Taranto booking Calder’s spot in in the final.
South Melbourne continued to rack up huge scores in the following rounds, defeating Moreland Zebras 5-1 before a 15-0 defeat of Caroline Springs George Cross in the last eight.
Their semi-final victory was equally as impressive, though for different reasons as they came from 2-0 down to beat Heidelberg United 3-2 and the reach the final for a second straight year.
Calder and South Melbourne have had a number of thrilling battles in previous years, with particular history in this cup competition.
As well as that convincing win in last year’s final, Calder knocked South Melbourne out of the NIKE F.C. Cup in 2019 with a 4-1 win in Round 3, and won 6-1 in the NPLW Semi-Final in the same year.
South had the beating of Calder in the sole meeting of 2021 with a 3-2 win, but Calder has turned it around again this year with 5-0 and 3-0 wins in the league.
Torcaso and his players will be able to take confidence into the match from a strong head-to-head record in recent years, but a final will always present a different proposition.
After a difficult beginning to the season, South Melbourne have found some better form and are now just five points away from a place in the NPLW Finals with three games to go and will give everything on Sunday with a trophy on the line.
Photos via Jack Dilks