APIA Leichhardt boss Billy McColl says he wants APIA to be the first NPL club to win the FFA Cup following their progression to the Round of 16 on Wednesday night.
The Tigers won a hard-fought – and at times spiteful – Round of 32 clash 1-0 over Victorian NPL side Port Melbourne Sharks at JL Murphy Reserve.
FULL COVERAGE: Re-live the FFA Cup Round of 32 opening night
In four years of the FFA Cup, no NPL side has gone further than the semi-finals, but McColl believes it won’t be long before a Member Federation club makes the showpiece final of Australia’s biggest knockout competition.
And he said APIA – currently league-leaders in the NSW NPL – believe it could be them that goes all the way.
“The boys have got a dream,” McColl told Fox Sports from a jubilant Tigers dressing room.
“We want to see an NPL team win it and that team should be APIA.”
There wasn’t much between Port Melbourne and APIA, with Tasuku Sekiya’s goal just before half-time proving the difference.
And it’s a moment Sharks keeper Matthew Symes will want to forget.
The gloveman, who had an excellent match, allowed Sekiya’s close-range shot to squeeze through his hands and trickle into the net.
“I’m very happy. It was a very tough game, so it was pleasing to win and not to concede,” McColl said.
“The two teams were brilliant, two teams gave 100% and it was a great Cup tie. But we just edged it.”