Adelaide United skipper Eugene Galekovic admits his side can and will improve after narrowly edging Sydney FC in the Round of 16 of the Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday night.
In a cracking Cup tie at Coopers Stadium, a 10-man Reds prevailed 2-1 after extra-time, with defender Dylan McGowan popping up with a late winner before he was red carded.
The Sky Blues dominated the early stages and took the lead through a clever chip fromRhyan Grant only for Pablo Sanchez to equalise before half-time.
Guillermo Amor’s side is now through to the last eight and on track to defend the title they won so spectacularly last year.
“We wanted to get through to the next round and that’s the main thing,” an honest Galekovic told Fox Sports.
“We have to improve a lot if we want to compete against the big boys and we’ll do that. There’s plenty of time to do that.
“[Sydney FC] are a good team, [Graham Arnold’s] Arnie’s coached them very well now for a couple of years.
“Our boys took control of the game as it went on and we got the result.”
After slotting home the winning goal – following a sensational rabona assist by Marcello Carrusca – McGowan was sent off late on for a cynical foul on Sebastian Ryall.
The Sydney FC defender was through on goal only to be tugged down by McGowan, leaving the referee with little choice but to show him red.
“He probably [saved us the game],” Galekovic said of McGowan’s dismissal.
“It was crucial. He’ll probably miss the next game but at the end of the day we won the game, that’s what we came here to do and we’re in the next round.”
While disappointed to be bundled out of the competition, Sydney FC striker Matt Simon was looking at the positives of his side’s display.
“It’s very early in pre-season and there’s still a long way to go until the start of the season,” he told Fox Sports.
“I thought the boys did really well for about 35 minutes at the start of the game and then they ran the game out well in extra-time.
“There’s good things to come.”