National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland team Olympic FC have fallen to Hyundai A-League side Adelaide United, losing 3-2 in a valiant effort in last night’s FFA Cup Round of 16 match at Perry Park.
In front of 1,030 spectators, the home side impressed and stepped up to the challenge of facing an A-League outfit.
For the first 20 minutes of the game, the atmosphere was intense as both teams lacked in possession but excelled in throwing players forward in hopes of a goal.
Adelaide took the first honour in the ninth minute when 19-year-old Al Hassan Toure found the back of the net to give the 2018 champions the early lead.
But just mere moments later in the 11th minute, Olympic bounced back with an equalizer after Costa Psaros drove the ball over Adelaide’s keeper Paul Izzo.
With the score at 1-1, both teams stayed on the attack but made mistakes, causing multiple minor fouls to stop the flow of the game. But soon enough, the deadlock would break.
In the 26th minute, a clever ball from Adelaide’s Michael Marrone found youngster Toure who scored his second goal for the night, making the score 2-1.
After their second goal, Adelaide took control of possession and showcased their class as an A-League side.
Meanwhile, Olympic had the chance to equalize after captain Steven Whyte played a through-ball to Alex Smith but unfortunately for the home team, he was found offside.
The second half started with the 2018 Cup champions continuing to press forward while Olympic remained defensive. Most of the home side’s opportunities came on the counter and players like Kazuya Ito and Jez Lofthouse had various close chances but couldn’t convert them to goals.
It wasn’t until the 64th minute when Olympic had their chance to equalize again. A handball in the box from Adelaide’s Vince Lia led the referee to point to the spot and with that, Chris Lucas stepped up to the mark, just five minutes after substituting onto the field.
Keeping his cool, he converted the penalty with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner and levelled the score to 2-2.
From then on, it was all hands on deck for both teams as they attempted to break the deadlock with over 20 minutes left to play.
Adelaide had a crucial chance in the 74th minute when a free kick cross into the box forced Olympic’s Brandon Cuminao to make a dashing save.
It looked like the match was heading into extra time, until a foul from Olympic’s Matt Mundy in the 84th minute gave a penalty to the A-League side, with over five minutes left to play.
In his 50th appearance for the club, George Blackwood stepped up to take the shot and calmly converted the penalty to give Adelaide the lead in the final minutes.
While Olympic attempted to save the match, it wasn’t to be as the final whistle blew with the score remaining at 3-2 to take the A-League side to the quarter finals.
Speaking after the match, Olympic Head Coach Ben Cahn expressed his disappointment in the result and wished his players had the chance to fight back.
“I think we at least deserved the opportunity to take that to extra time but that’s football,” Cahn said.
He also praised his players and team for giving it all they had.
“I’m proud of everybody involved and we gave it everything. The boys worked incredibly hard, the staff worked incredibly hard in the lead up and I won’t look back with too many regrets.”
Fellow NPL Queensland side Magpies Crusaders also bowed out in their FFA Cup Round of 16 match losing 4-0 to Moreland Zebras in Victoria.
Words: Vivien Topalovic
Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images