The greatest Cinderella stories in FFA Cup history

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The FFA Cup has only been around for eight years, but in its short history there has been some magical Cinderella stories. 

In sport, the term “Cinderella” is used when referring to a team that achieved far greater success than expected.  

Cinderella stories are evident throughout all sports, whether it’s the 2007 New York Giants when they shocked the sporting world and defeated the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

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Or it’s the Greece national football team that won the 2004 UEFA Euro’s by defeating then defending-champions France, the undefeated Czechs and then winning the final against the heavily favoured Portugal. 

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Cinderella stories are what makes sport great – so, what are some of the greatest Cinderella stories we have seen so far in the FFA cup? 

Adelaide City  

Adelaide City will always have a piece of history in the FFA Cup as the first member federation club to defeat an A-League Men side. 

It was the round of 16 in the 2014 FFA Cup and Adelaide City were matched up against a Western Sydney Wanderers side that had just lost an A-League Men’s grand final in extra time just three months earlier.  

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But that did not phase City as they shocked the football world and defeated the Wanderers 1-0, despite failing to earn a corner and having only three shots on goal. 

City were able to back their form up again as they beat the Brisbane Strikers in the round of 16 1-0. But their story ended in the quarter-finals after a heartbreaking 88th-minute equaliser and 104th-minute winner by Bentleigh Greens sunk their cup dreams. 

South Springvale FC

Also in 2014, a little club from Melbourne’s south-east called South Springvale FC sprung themselves into FFA Cup folklore as they had a Cinderella run for the ages. 

Springvale had to qualify for the FFA Cup the hard way, as they kicked off their cup pursuit with a 2-1 on the road win over Victorian State League 1 South-East side Doncaster Rovers.  

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This was followed by a 1-0 upset defeat of NPL Victoria’s Pascoe Vale. Then a couple rounds later came more upsets as Springvale defeated yet another NPL team in Hume City 3-0. And with those upsets, Springvale were into the round of 32 as they matched up against NPL Northern New South Wales outfit South Cardiff FC.  

In true Cinderella style, it went all the way to penalties as South Springvale goalkeeper Rani Dowisha dived to his right to push away the deciding kick and sent South Springvale into the round of 16. 

Unfortunately, South Springvale’s story ended there, but their run to qualify for the FFA Cup, let alone make the round of 16 was remarkable. 

Bentleigh Greens 

Bentleigh have gone the furthest of any member federation club as they reached the 2018 semi-finals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Adelaide United. 

Bentleigh kicked off their 2018 Cinderella run with an upset 1-0 win over A-League Men side Wellington Phoenix.  

Bentleigh then carried their form into the round of 16 where they emphatically defeated Broadmeadow Magic 4-0, followed by a tough 1-0 win over Heidelberg United. 

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Sadly, Bentleigh were no match for the kings of the FFA Cup in Adelaide United, as they fell down to them 2-0 in the semi-final. 

To this day, Bentleigh are still the most successful FFA member federation club, reaching the semi-final.

Will 2021 will be the year a Cinderella team goes all the way?

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Cameron Ottenhoff
Cameron Ottenhoff
Sport, media and communications student at Flinders University in Adelaide. I was forced to hang the boots up at a young age after discovering I'm no good at sport, so now I just talk about it instead.

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