Penalty shootout drama as Coffs United Lions go through to sixth round of the FFA Cup

Mabior Garang celebrates the winning penalty to put Coffs United into the sixth round of the FFA Cup winning 4-3 on penalties.


COFFS United Lions overcame the Coffs Coast Tigers in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to progress to the sixth round of the FFA Cup.

The Tigers outplayed the CPL champions in the first half with their brand of crisp passing and possession football that frustrated the Lions and resulted in a sending off that reduced them to ten men after 30 minutes.

The Tigers capitalised with two goals from the impressive Jacob Field who put his team 2-0 ahead at half time.

The second half continued as the first half left off with the Tigers enjoying the majority of possession until coach Glen Williams changed the game by introducing Mabior Garang and Martin Kelleher who made an instant impact, both scoring goals to square the game 2-2 at full time.

In extra time Marcus Field (twin brother of Jacob Field) ran from the halfway line with pace, skill and composure to slot the ball into the net to put the Tigers 3-2 ahead after the first half of injury time.

Coffs United responded in the second half of extra time when Lorenzo Rigoni was the first to react from a Lions corner to square the match and force a dramatic penalty shoot out.

Lions goalkeeper Jake Mahoney saved two penalties and Mabior Garang scored the winner to send the Lions through 4-3 on penalties which sent players and supporters into a frenzied celebration.

It was a stellar night for the 18-year-old Mabior Garang whose goal was the catalyst for the comeback and whose penalty won the contest as he told the News Of The Area.

“It was definitely a tricky match with ten men, very physical but it was a game that was really exciting to play especially since it was an FFA Cup match.

“The match was extremely fast paced and intense as the Tigers were definitely the better team technically however our team has great mentality and motivation which I think is why we were able to come back.

“As a young player the FFA Cup is something that we see as a chance to verse the big teams in Australia so scoring the penalty to advance to the next round was special.

“Seeing the crowd come running and celebrating just made me happy that we were able to win,” said Mabior.

Tigers coach Luke Stow wasn’t happy with the result but the future looks bright at the Tigers.

“Look, not happy with the result but we can’t win them all.

“Performance wise could not be happier, we have to remember over half my team is under 18 and to play at that level of intensity and show a high level of experience I could ask for no more.

“So for the future it looks bright but like every match we play we look to learn and improve so we will do this,” said Luke.

The Lions erased memories of their last FFA Cup campaign which they lost on penalties to Port Saints as coach Glen Williams shared his insights into the game.

“The game started at a high pace with the Tigers young midfield wreaking havoc in the middle.

“The game was a tough affair with some early yellow cards and a second for Nick Mallet resulting in a red card 30 minutes in.

“With back to the walls Tigers scored two against the Lions, a betting man would have backed Tigers from there.

“I made a double change bringing on some fresh legs in Mabior Garang and Martin Kelleher.

“With a formation change on the run, the two subs scored a goal to sink the hearts of the Tigers supporters.

“Extra time was a torrid affair with Tigers going ahead in the first stanza, we kept going and going creating several chances but no champagne.

“With eight minutes to go we got a corner and with body on the line, Lorenzo Rigoni slotted the equaliser to take the game to penalties.”

“It was time for Jake Mahoney to claim some redemption and he saved two in the first five to give the Lions a much deserved win.

“The Tigers are a good outfit and we had to fight the fight, the boys showed a lot of spirit and determination to take that win after playing for 90 minutes with 10 men, extremely proud,” concluded Glen.

Tigers president Mellesa Bennett praised the spirit of the Tigers who seem to be getting better every week.

“Coffs dug deep and after making changes in Martin Kelleher and Mabior Garang who changed the dynamics of their game, and credit to them to come back and score three goals with 10 men.

“Tigers played a fantastic match, however physicality, not always fair, played a big part in our players losing a little confidence for a short period, which allowed Coffs back into the game.

“Penalties is a horrible way to end a match, however all the Tigers team should be extremely proud of themselves and the game they played.

“We had Lions running scared from the midfield with both Jacob and Marcus Field having a fantastic night on the pitch, however every player in the team put in all they had, right til the end.

“We have the CPL comp to focus on now, and we know that our team has what it takes to go far this season, that’s our main focus now for 2021,” said Mellesa.

Coffs United progressed to the sixth round of the FFA Cup which will be played on Saturday June 12 against Lake Macquarie City FC at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, near Newcastle.




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