FFA Cup Quarter Final wrap: Sydney survive Avondale scare
There was to be no FFA Cup upset on Match Day one of the FFA Cup Quarter Finals, but fans were treated to a night of thrilling cup action.
Here's our wrap of both Quarter Final fixtures.
Avondale 2-4 Sydney FC
Sydney FC are just two steps away from defending their FFA Cup 2017 title after beating Avondale 4-2 in a breathless Quarter Final affair.
Extra time goals from Milos Ninkovic and Adam Le Fondre settled a classic FFA Cup contest, after a second half brace from Avondale’s Liam Boland forced overtime.
Le Fondre and Siem de Jong were handed Sydney debuts and starred in a slick opening 45 minutes from Steve Corica’s men, who cruised into the break with a commanding 2-0 lead thanks to Trent Buhagiar’s clinical double.
But Sydney’s two-goal cushion was shattered and the tables completely reversed in a remarkable Boland-inspired second half turnaround.
Boland was starting in place of Newcastle Jets-bound strike partner Kaine Sheppard, and his cool 57th minute finish from outside the box sparked a pulsating second half encounter at ABD Stadium.
The striker’s effort restored new life into the cup tie and Boland would soon send the underdogs delirious when he bagged a double after Sydney failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Just days after pulling off a miracle comeback in Friday night’s NPL Victoria semi-final against Bentleigh Greens, Avondale had done it again.
And Anthony Barbieri’s side came within inches of striking a memorable winner through second half substitute Yitay Towns, only for Andrew Redmayne to pull off a sensational diving save in the final moments of regulation time.
It wasn’t to be for the plucky Melbourne outfit however, as Ninkovic and Le Fondre broke Avondale hearts with nerveless extra time strikes to keep Sydney’s dream of back to back FFA Cups alive.
Melbourne City 1-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney Wanderers are into the FFA Cup Semi Finals for the second year running after defeating Melbourne City 2-1 at AAMI Park.
City were left to rue a string of missed chances, highlighted by an early penalty miss from Bruno Fornaroli, as the visiting Wanderers capitalised on City’s profligacy.
Fornaroli had smacked the crossbar with a header minutes before Oriol Riera put Western Sydney ahead with a sublime near post header from Alexander Baumjohann’s corner delivery.
Markus Babbel’s side doubled the lead with a killer second on the cusp of half time. A poor giveaway from Luke Brattan invited the Wanderers forward through Riera and Jaushua Sotirio before Roly Bonevacia swept the ball home from close range.
Riley McGree handed City a route back when he fired an emphatic response for City early in the second half, with his powerful strike on the edge of the area leaving Wanderers goalkeeper Danijel Nizic rooted to the spot.
The chances continued to flow for the 2016 winners but Nizic came up trumps with several fine saves – including a fine near post stop to deny McGree late on – to see the Red and Black through to the final four.