Oakleigh Cannons coach Arthur Papas says his side’s tenacious 1-0 win over MetroStars in Tuesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 tie is a massive achievement for the PS4 NPL Victoria club.
The Cannons were forced to absorb pressure in the first half but their class eventually shone through to get the result which sends them into the last eight.
Ex-Hyundai A-League star Mirjan Pavlovic pounced for the winner midway through the second half at Elite Systems Football Centre, capitalising on an error by Stars keeper Daniel Godley.
“I’m extremely happy. It’s a tremendous effort from the group to reach this stage of the tournament and you saw a really united team out there,” Papas told Fox Sports.
“We really had to battle in the first half and they put us under a lot of pressure but in the second half we showed a tremendous level of quality.
“In the first 15 minutes of the second half we should have finished the game off, we had numerous chances and we deserved our goal.
”But credit to the MetroStars, they threw everything at us and our boys held firm. It’s a massive achievement for Oakleigh, a massive achievement for this playing group and they deserve all the credit tonight.”
Oakleigh’s reward for making the last eight is an all-PS4 NPL quarter-final against fellow Victorian outfit Hume City.
The two sides have met three times in the league this season, with a draw and a win apiece meaning there will be little between when they face-off later this month.
“They’ve [Hume] still got their finals series to play and we can focus solely on that game,” Papas said.
“We’ve got to prepare as well as we can, get our bodies fresh again and I’m certain if this team shows up like we did today, we’ll be ready for that match.
“We’ll approach our game and worry about what we need to do to get the result. We’ve beaten them before this year, we’re confident we can do it again.”
Papas revealed the club will play a friendly against fellow Cup quarter-finalists – A-League club Melbourne City – on September 9 in preparation for the biggest game in Cannons history.