Everything you need to know for Australia Cup SFs: Blockbuster 27 years in the making

The 2023 Australia Cup finalists will be determined in this Sunday’s huge semi-final doubleheader. Here’s everything you need to know.

Four will become two this Sunday, when the 2023 Australia Cup reaches its penultimate round, with a blockbuster semi-final doubleheader in Victoria.

It all kicks off at AAMI Park when the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League Premiers Melbourne City play host to Sydney FC in a 2016 Final rematch at 3pm (AEST).

The action continues at Knights Stadium, as Melbourne Knights look to become only the second member federation side to reach the final in history, when they take on Brisbane Roar at 6pm (AEST).

Ahead of the Australia Cup semi-final matchups, here’s everything you need to know.

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How to watch?

All Australia Cup matches will be streamed live and free on 10Play.

Semi-final fixtures

Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Sunday, September 24
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 3pm AEST
Broadcast: Live on 10 Play

Melbourne Knights v Brisbane Roar
Sunday, September 24
Venue: Knights Stadium
Kick-off: 6pm AEST
Broadcast: Live on 10 Play

Australia Cup Final date and venue

The Australia Cup 2023 Final will be on Saturday October 7. Football Australia will determine the host venue once the finalists are known.

Melbourne City v Sydney FC – key storylines

Do City shuffle the deck?

Rado Vidosic is faced with an interesting selection dilemma as Melbourne City gear up for their third game in 10 days.

City opened their Asian Champions League campaign on Wednesday night in a 0-0 draw to J2 side Ventforet Kofu, six days after registering a 2-1 Cup quarter-final victory over MetroStars.

Vidosic picked a strong starting XI for the clash against the Japanese outfit, essentially selecting the best starting lineup from the players he had available, given the injuries City currently have in their attacking stocks to Mathew Leckie and Andrew Nabbout.

The City boss also only made two substitutions late in the contest, bringing on Terry Antonis in the 74th minute and Samuel Souprayen in second-half stoppage time.

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With this Sunday’s clash being the third in quick succession, it will be a fascinating watch to see if Vidosic looks to shuffle the deck once more in order to either preserve bodies or, by the same token, get an idea of what his best mix is heading into round one of the Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Antonis has been impressive in his cameos off the bench during the Cup, while Souprayen, Jordan Hall and Max Caputo all started against Metro.

Scott Galloway is also available if City look to tinker their back four and new signing Leo Natel has begun training after only landing in Australia on Tuesday morning.

Does Corica stick with the kids?

It’s been a new look Sydney FC throughout the Cup so far.

Steve Corica has handed opportunities to a host of youngsters, including the likes of Kealy Adamson, Jake Girdwood-Reich, Corey Hollman and Patrick Wood, who have all performed solidly.

Adamson has stood out in an extended run at right-back while Girdwood-Reich and Hollman have slotted in nicely at centre-back and in midfield respectively. Wood has been in a rich vein of form too, scoring three goals in three Cup games.

However, with the return of key players in their 3-0 win over Western United in the quarter-finals, plus two new signings touching down in the last week – does Corica stick with his youthful quartet going forward?

Rhyan Grant and Max Burgess returned from injury and suspension respectively as substitutes in their win over Western, while Brazilian duo Fabio Gomes and Gabriel Lacerda have arrived at the club on loan.

There’s no word whether the new signings will be ready to go against City, but Grant and Burgess are certainly players pushing their case for a start on Sunday.

It remains to be seen whether Corica changes a winning formula, but it will be interesting to see if he sticks with the kids or goes back to his trusty veterans who have delivered him success in the past.

Who wants the wing positions?

Sunday’s game serves as another dress rehearsal for City’s attack heading into round one, as a result of two unforeseen injuries.

City will be without star wingers Leckie and Nabbout after the duo were struck down injury in quick succession. The former hurt his knee on international duty with the Socceroos, while the latter suffered what looks to be a season ending Achilles injury in a behind closed doors friendly.

Vidosic all but confirmed Leckie would miss their season opener against Western United on October 21, meaning the City boss will have to throw the magnets around in order to cover for his absence.

Off-season arrivals Marin Jakolis and Alessandro Lopane have started the last two games on either wing and will more than likely get another chance to impress against Sydney, having featured heavily in their Cup run so far.

Lopane scored against Oakleigh Cannons in the Round of 32 playing as one of the two advanced midfielders, while Jakolis is yet to have a major impact so far.

New arrival Leo Natel will almost certainly get an opportunity before the season gets underway, with City still to play another Champions League contest away to Zhejiang and potentially a Cup final, should they beat Sydney.

Nonetheless, there are positions to be won heading into the new campaign.


Melbourne City (4-3-3): Young, Talbot, Souprayen, Good, Behich, Ugarkovic, Arslan, Sakhi, Jakolis, Maclaren, Lopane

Sydney FC (4-3-3): Redmayne, Adamson, Rodwell, Girdwood-Reich, King, Brattan, Burgess, Caceres, Mak, Wood, Lolley

Melbourne Knights v Brisbane Roar – key storylines

Knights chase history

Melbourne Knights are gearing up for arguably their biggest match in almost 30 years.

Knights are one win away from becoming the second member federation team to ever play in an Australia Cup final, following in the footsteps of NPL New South Wales outfit Sydney United 58 – who made history last season by becoming the first team to do so.

The NPL Victoria powerhouse is set to be willed on a bumper crowd at Knights Stadium, as Ben Cahn’s side gear up for their toughest test during this Cup run yet.

Knights knocked off three NPL sides en route to the semis – defeating Lions FC, Campbelltown City and Heidelberg United all at home – and will now face an A-Leagues side for the first time this year.

In fact, since the return of the Cup competition in 2014, Knights are yet to beat A-Leagues opposition.

Not that they will be daunted though, as Cahn has instilled a newfound belief within this Knights outfit, who have risen back to prominence this season after years floundering in mid-table purgatory.

Their side is also littered with players who have experience playing at the highest level, including Socceroo Ivan Franjic, Ben Collins, Gevaro Nepomuceno, Ciaran Bramwell and Steve Whyte – while Luka Kolic, Gian Albano, Mitch Hore and Joshua Phelps have all shown their quality throughout the competition.

As a club, Knights are no stranger to big games either, having played in five National Soccer League Grand Finals in the 1990s, with the last of those coming in 1996 when they beat Marconi-Fairfield 2-1 at the old Olympic Stadium in Melbourne’s CBD.

And a club of their stature would love nothing more than another crack at one of Australia’s top prizes come October 7.

A potential debut in familiar surroundings

Brisbane Roar’s attacking stocks may be bolstered this weekend, after the arrival of NPL Victoria Golden Boot winner Jonas Markovski.

The 24-year-old joins the club after a breakout season with Altona Magic, scoring 19 goals en route to taking out the league’s top attacking prize.

He looks set to provide immense competition for Thomas Waddingham in the race to lead the line this season, although the latter will more than likely start on Sunday after scoring two goals in his last two games.

Jonas Markovski

Markovski now could make his club debut at the very place his legendary father John called home between 1995-97. John – in fact – led the line in Knights’ 1996 NSL Grand Final victory over Marconi.

Jonas did score at Knights Stadium earlier this year in Altona’s 3-1 defeat to Ben Cahn’s side back in March.


Melbourne Knights (4-3-3): Oldfield, I.Franjic, Phelps, Collins, Morton, Whyte, Duzel, Hore, Albano, Kolic, Bramwell

Brisbane Roar (4-2-3-1): Freke, Hingert, Neville, Aldred, Zabala, Caletti, O’Shea, Mileusnic, Berenguer, Armiento, Waddingham