There is plenty to look forward to as the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup and Women’s Knockout Cup enter crunch time with massive match-ups the order of the day in the semi-finals for both competitions.
The official draw for each was conducted this afternoon by New Zealand Football and resulted in two matches being teed up for Auckland while the South Island does not miss out with Christchurch and Dunedin both hosting a game.
In the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup, five-time winners Central United will continue their bid for a sixth crown – which would take them within one of University-Mt Wellington’s all-time record – against familiar opposition after being drawn to host fellow NRFL Premier League side Bay Olympic.
Central booked their berth in the final four by eventually overcoming a determined defensive display from Wairarapa United with two late goals while Bay Olympic caused somewhat of an upset with their 2-1 triumph over Western Suburbs in Wellington.
Based on league positioning, fourth-placed Central will go in as favourites against the mid-table Bay, who are chasing their first ever Chatham Cup win after coming runners up in 2010.
Onehunga Sports are likewise targeting a maiden title and are chasing success on two fronts with the NRFL Premier League championship all but in the bag. They will come up against a side who are also hoping to secure a rare double in Mainland Premier League leaders Cashmere Technical.
The Cantabrians, who won back-to-back Chatham Cups in 2013 and 2014, progressed to this point with a 3-0 win over Nelson Suburbs while Onehunga posted the same winning scoreline against holders Birkenhead United.
In the Women’s Knockout Cup, standing in the way of Glenfield Rovers’ march to a sixth final in just seven years is surprise package Dunedin Technical, who have already made history by becoming the first club from Football South to ever make it this far.
It will therefore be a milestone moment for the region when Dunedin host the three-time winners and look to repeat their giant-killing exploits of the quarter-finals, which saw them defeat 2013 winners Coastal Spirit 3-2. Glenfield will be full of confidence though after eliminating holders Forrest Hill Milford United with a 3-1 victory.
History will also be created up in Auckland, where Eastern Suburbs and Upper Hutt City will both be looking to make their first ever final. Suburbs put themselves in a position to do so with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Three Kings United in the quarter-finals while Upper Hutt accounted for Palmerston North Marist 2-1.
The semi-finals of both the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup and Women’s Knockout Cup will take place on the weekend of August 26 to 27 with all match details to be confirmed shortly by the clubs and federations involved.