By Peter Oglos.
Sydney Olympic FC’s highly anticipated night of glory didn’t go as planned on Wednesday night as the Belmore side fell 4-2 to Sydney FC, being eliminated in the FFA Cup Round of 32.
With a packed Belmore crowd and thousands of Olympic fans rallying to support the squad, FFA Cup greatness was tipped in the NPL side’s favour.
It was a slippery start for both sides as rain pelted the field, with some early slip and slide challenges showing Olympic’s aggressive side.
Olympic stunned the Sky Blues as they proceeded to dominate the opening thirty minutes, with winger Adam Parkhouse firing crosses across the goal. Darcy Burgess and Oliver Pufflett managed to get on the end of a few chances but failed to challenge experienced Sydney FC keeper Andrew Redmayne.
Parkhouse’s early efforts were eventually rewarded with a spectacular goal that deflected off the defender to bounce perfectly over Redmayne’s head, giving Olympic a 1-0 lead at Belmore.
Olympic were put under heavy pressure in the next quarter hour, giving away plenty of corner opportunities to Sydney FC. A minute out from the first half whistle, Sydney FC were gifted a free kick opportunity that resulted in heartbreak for the Olympic fans.
Brattan sent the ball hurling into Olympic’s six-yard box, bouncing towards the head of Adam Le Fondre who nodded it past keeper Nicholas Sorras to equalise before the break.
A poor start to the second half from both sides, yet Sydney FC were quick to find their footing.
Patrick Wood managed to skirt around Olympic skipper Michael Glassock and strike it past Sorras to give Sydney FC the lead.
The A-League giant pulled off a dominant second half display yet were denied multiple opportunities in a show-stopping display by Sorras between the posts. The Greek Australian keeper pulled off a double save and prevent the Sky Blues from scoring off multiple attempts.
The attacking prowess of Sydney FC eventually became too much for the NPL side, however, as Elvis Kamsoba scored his first goal in Sydney FC colours in the 77th minute.
Four minutes later, hope returned to Belmore as Redmayne failed to grab hold of a slippery free kick ball by substitute Brendan Cholakian, forcing an own goal by Liam McGing.
Much to the annoyance of the Sydney Olympic players, Sydney FC didn’t hold for a win in the final ten minutes, constantly challenging Sorras and looking for a goal to bury the FFA Cup hatchet.
The Sky Blues found their fourth goal in injury time as forward Trent Buhagiar chipped it over the top of an exposed Sorras.
A valiant display by the home side, Sydney Olympic director Damon Hanlin said he ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of the boys who stepped on the pitch to represent that badge.
“Last night was an exceptional night for the Sydney Olympic Θρύλος football club,” Hanlin told The Greek Herald.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the players, the coaching staff, administrators, and the volunteers.”
Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, and Head of Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Peter Filopoulos, were also present at the match, even taking the time to snap a photo with a few Sydney Olympic legends.
“The fans are exceptional, the turnout was brilliant and I couldn’t have been prouder last night. It enforces the fact that Sydney Olympic Θρύλος is here to stay and is a real force in Australian football.”
Hanlin added that the squad will take what they learned from the FFA Cup match into the new NPL season, where the squad will look to secure the 2022 Men’s NPL NSW title.
“Although the results didn’t go our way this time, our team showed talent, tenacity and the Olympic fighting spirit, and will take away many positives from this into the new season,” Hanlin concluded.