Has there ever been a Round of 16 like this one?
Magical moments, stunning comebacks and almighty upsets headlined a memorable eight fixtures in the FFA Cup 2018 Round of 16.
It was also a round that saw several shining National Premier League talents make themselves known across the country.
But who stood out the most? Read on to find out.
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Sean Ellis – Heidelberg United
It was only fitting that Sean Ellis starred as Heidelberg United secured a third FFA Cup Quarter Final berth with a 4-0 win over Adelaide Comets on Wednesday.
He was the man who set up Kenny Athiu’s famous match-winner against Perth Glory in 2016, and Ellis’ wand of a left foot came to the fore again as Heidelberg sealed a Melbourne derby clash with Bentleigh Greens in the final eight.
The Scotsman laid on two assists as quickfire strikes from Reuben Way and Alex Schiavo saw the Warriors establish a 2-0 half time advantage.
And Ellis crowned a memorable display in the city of churches with the crispest of finishes to add a third for the visitors.
Those around the NPL Victoria have known about the quality of Heidelberg’s winger for years, and Ellis has been key part of the Warriors’ evolution into one of the National Premier Leagues’ strongest competitors.
Tasuku Sekiya – APIA Leichhardt Tigers
It looked at one stage like APIA Leichhardt’s date with Melbourne Victory would be the long-awaited debut of Keisuke Honda.
Kevin Muscat’s side arrived in Sydney’s west Honda-less but still intent on flexing their FFA Cup credentials. However, Victory were trumped by one of the all-time great FFA Cup performances from APIA Leichhardt’s little Japanese maestro, Tasuku Sekiya.
It will take some performance to top Sekiya’s majestic display against the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions. Nominally an attacking midfielder, the tiny frame of Sekiya has led the charge for the Tigers following the departure of Jordan Murray to Central Coast Mariners.
And although he might be small in stature, the Japanese attacker terrorised the Victory defence in a performance of relentless grit and peerless expertise.
Both these qualities were on show for Sekiya’s ninth minute opener as he broke forward and lashed APIA in front without breaking stride.
But it was his second that truly brought the house down. After Sean Symons seized on a Victory turnover, Sekiya turned the Melbourne defence inside out before rifling an unstoppable effort home at the near post.
Adelaide United will have to marshal the Tigers’ sensation with great care when the two teams face off in the last eight.
Elvis Kamsoba – Avondale
The speedster has truly taken his game to the next level in the NPL Victoria this season, and Kamsoba stole the show when Avondale hammered Devonport City 4-1 last week.
Kamsoba was an inspiration for the Avengers on the night, confounding the travelling Tasmanian defence with his pace, guile and accuracy in the final third.
It was an enthralling performance capped by a fine goal late on, as Kamsoba weaved past Devonport defenders before finding the back of the net with an unerring near post finish.
A former product of the NPL South Australia, Kamsoba moved to Melbourne in 2017 with Melbourne Knights to further his dream of playing in the Hyundai A-League.
And if the young Burundian continues to pull out performances of last week’s calibre, there’s no telling how far his star will rise.
Chris Lucas – Bentleigh Greens
It’s not often an FFA Cup hat-trick goes unnoticed but, with the attention of the country fixed on APIA Leichhardt last week, Chris Lucas’ treble in Bentleigh Greens’ 4-0 win over Broadmeadow may have slipped through the cracks.
Lucas was the star man in Bentleigh’s comprehensive win over the Ruben Zadkovich-coached side and became the eighth player in FFA Cup history to grab a treble.
The former Gold Coast United forward put Broadmeadow to the sword in a stunning 24-minute cameo, sealing his trio of goals from the penalty spot.
The Tweed Heads local scored goals for fun back in his days for Palm Beach and has translated that success impressively for Bentleigh, who snared his services in 2015.
It paid immediate dividends as Lucas finished top scorer, and he’ll be crucial as the Greens prepare for their Melbourne derby quarter final against fierce rivals Heidelberg United.