THE opening 15 minutes of Sunday’s cup semi-final between Twin City and Melrose may just decide who goes through to the season decider.
Wanderers coach David Afonso yesterday said they would like to put the game out of reach early, while Melrose defender Jesse Marcuzzi said they too would apply the blowtorch in the first quarter of an hour.
League winners Twin City go into the game off a 2-0 win against the last team into the finals, Albury Hotspurs.
Wanderers rested James Coutts and Alex West in the quarter-final, but both are expected to play on Sunday.
Melrose, cup finalists two years ago and only knocked out in extra time in the semi last year, progressed after an injury-time goal against Myrtleford last week.
“We’re quite confident, but in saying that we realise Melrose have been the cup finals’ specialists in recent years and come semi-final time, if you give them a sniff, they know what to do,” Afonso said.
“Ideally we want to score goals early and put it beyond them.”
Twin City beat Melrose 6-1 at the start of the year and 3-0 in the second round.
Marcuzzi said they needed to convert their chances early.
“They are a quality team but come finals time, anything can happen,” he said.
“We just have to give it our all.
“If we can get a goal in the first 20 minutes — finish some of those chances that we create early in most games then we might be able to cause an upset.
“But they don’t have too many scored against them so that’s no easy task.”
Twin City, like Wodonga Diamonds, will have all three senior men sides in the cup semis.
Afonso said it was a double-edged sword.
“I think it’s a positive for the club but a negative for each team,” he said.
“But if we are a chance of having all three grades in the cup final the season has been a huge success.”