Two-goal hero Liam Boland says defeated FFA Cup 2018 Quarter Finalists Avondale are down but not out after the ‘biggest week in the club’s history’.
Boland’s second half double saw the NPL Victoria outfit snatch a remarkable second-half turnaround in a classic cup tie against Sydney on Wednesday evening.
But extra time strikes to Milos Ninkovic and Sydney FC debutant Adam Le Fondre helped the Sky Blues ultimately prevail 4-2 and end the Avengers’ FFA Cup dream.
FFA CUP QUARTER FINAL WRAP: Sydney FC survive Avondale scare, Wanderers upset City
HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE CALLING: Avondale's FFA Cup hero snared by Newcastle Jets
“In the first half we gave them a bit too much respect. As you can understand – they’re a great side and probably the best side in the country over the past two years,” Boland told Fox Sports post-match.
“We said we’re a good side and we’ve got to show it. We dug deep and brought it back to two-all and possibly might’ve pinched it right at the end, the keeper pulled off a good save off Yutay [Towns].
“But it was a great performance and I’m really proud of all the boys.”
Avondale were comprehensively outplayed by the 2017 winners in the opening half, with Trent Buhagiar firing in a brace to put Sydney 2-0 up at half-time.
That lead appeared unassailable but, having pulled off a scarcely-believable comeback against Bentleigh Greens in the NPL Victoria semi-final last Friday, Boland’s double inspired the Avengers to another miracle turnaround – before the Sky Blues pounced in extra-time.
One more big game
Boland and Avondale will now turn their attention to Sunday’s NPL Victoria Grand Final against Heidelberg United.
Anthony Barbieri’s side will enter the clash battered and bruised after 120 minute matches back-to-back in less than a week, but Boland says his side are relishing the big day.
“We’ll be right. Four days, how can you not get up for a Grand Final? We’ve got recovery tomorrow and we’ll do all the right things.
“We’re really excited, it’s probably been the biggest week in the club’s history this week and as you can see everyone’s got a smile on their face.”