Pair of cup finalists found

Central celebrate opening the scoring against Bay Olympic through Ignacio Machuca. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.photosport.nz

Two finalists for New Zealand’s highest-profile cup competitions have been found after Central United and Glenfield Rovers booked their spots in the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup and Women’s Knockout Cup showpieces respectively.

This afternoon’s pair of semi-finals went largely to script with the favourites triumphing on each occasion, Central sweeping aside local rivals Bay Olympics in comfortable manner with a 5-0 victory while Glenfield overcame a spirited showing from Dunedin Technical in the deep south.

The wins mean both sides now have the chance to add to their illustrious histories in each competition with Central chasing a sixth Chatham Cup crown – which would bring them to within just one of University-Mt Wellington’s all-time record – while Glenfield have a fourth Women’s Knockout Cup title in their sights.

Stephanie Skilton, second from left, is congratulated by her team mates after putting Glenfield in front against Dunedin Technical. Photo: Joe Allison / www.photosport.nz

In contrast, Dunedin Technical have never claimed the winter female club game’s highest honour and created their own piece of history today by becoming the first ever Football South side to appear in the semi-finals.

The sense of occasion at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin was clear to see with players and members of other clubs in the region coming out in their droves to get behind the local side, who responded with a determined display that kept the star-studded Glenfield goalless at the break.

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The first half was a tense and tight affair with the visitors dominating possession and looking to control the tempo but struggling to create clear-cut chances. On the couple of occasions Rovers did manage a strike on goal, they were comfortable for Technical goalkeeper Jade Middleditch to deal with. The hosts aimed to threaten on the counter-attack where possible and Mikayla Gray was the major threat when getting any time and space on the ball.

Glenfield thought they had finally broken the deadlock after the half-time interval when the ball was bundled into the Technical goal from close range but the celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

They did finally open their account after 57 minutes though, a cruel bounce off a Technical player falling to the feet of the classy Stephanie Skilton, who made no mistake in powering a shot past Middleditch. Skilton then turned provider just over 10 minutes later, giving Georgia Brown the opportunity to beat a couple of defenders and rifle home to double the lead.

Up in Auckland, Central weren’t made to work quite as hard by Bay Olympic in the Chatham Cup, although the visitors were still right in the game at half-time at only 1-0 down. Despite the encounter taking place at Central’s Kiwitea Street home, one could have been forgiven for thinking Bay were the home team as a sea of green filled the stands.

But those vociferous fans had little to really cheer about from the half-hour mark onwards after Ignacio Machuca put Central ahead. The advantage was doubled just after the hour when Nicolas Zambrano was presented with a tap-in and the goal of the game arrived several minutes later as Auckland City star Emiliano Tade unleashed an unstoppable strike from distance that Bay goalkeeper David Masters could do little to keep out.

With the match now all but over as a contest, Machuca took up a gift-wrapped invitation to complete his brace with an empty net at his mercy in the 68th minute before Alfie Rogers completed the rout late on.

Central and Glenfield will find out who they will meet in the Chatham Cup and Women’s Knockout Cup finals tomorrow when the semi-finals of the winter game’s premier competitions continue. Eastern Suburbs are set to host Upper Hutt City in the Women’s Knockout Cup in Auckland while Onehunga Sports face a trip to Christchurch to take on Cashmere Technical in the Chatham Cup.

Women’s Knockout Cup Semi-Finals

Dunedin Technical 0
Glenfield Rovers 2 (Stephanie Skilton 57’, Georgia Brown 68’)
HT: 0-0

Eastern Suburbs vs Upper Hutt City
Sunday 27 August, 2pm
Madills Farm, Auckland

ISPS Handa Chatham Cup Semi-Finals

Central United 5 (Ignacio Machuca 30’, 68’, Nicolas Zambrano 61’, Emiliano Tade 64’, Alfie Rogers 88’)
Bay Olympic 0
HT: 1-0

Cashmere Technical v Onehunga Sports
Sunday 27 August, 2pm
Garrick Park, Christchurch

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