Words: Constantine Lentakis | Image: Slapics
Shane Stefanutto praised his sides fighting spirit as Olympic FC booked their spot in FFA Cup Round of 32 via a penalty shootout victory over Brisbane City at CTM Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The sides couldn’t be split after 120 minutes with the match finishing 2-2 before Olympic prevailed 4-1 in the shootout.
Man of the match Zelfy Nazary opened the scoring for Olympic with a perfectly lobbed ball over the onrushing Jake Clancy in the 33rd minute.
Nazary was involved again in the second goal in the 39th minute, when he and Alex Smith played a one-two which ended with Smith rounding the keeper and slotting the ball into an open net to double the visitors lead.
Despite trailing 2-0 at break City clawed their way back into the contest through an Owain Thomas strike in the 62nd minute before Kai Fiechtner grabbed an equalizer in stoppage time to send the match into extra time.
There was no shortage of chances in extra time, highlighted by Jez Lofthouse putting a shot on the post and Nicholas Mooney pulling off a stunning save to deny Tristan Hugo.
Olympics’ composure proved decisive in the penalty shootout; Nazary, James Cuminao and Kristen Waters all finished from the spot and after James Meyer and Fiechtner missed for City, Smith stepped up to tuck home the winner for the visitors.
The win sees Olympic qualify for the round of 32 for just the second time since the inception of the competition in 2014, stand in skipper Shane Stefanutto says it’s a special moment for the club.
“It means a lot, I don’t think it just means a lot to the players, it means a lot to the whole club, I’m sure the board, every kid that’s at Olympic; they want to see us on the national stage.”
“But like the boss said just then, it’s not about celebrating here because we want to do well in the 32 and we’re still pushing on in the league.”
Stefanutto was full of praise for the fighting spirit shown by his side as they came out on top after more than two hours football.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t get the job done in 90 minutes, we gave them two goals tonight, and we had a lot of chances, that aspect was frustrating”
“True credit to these boys; they just never give up, Kazuya who was up front injured at the end, couldn’t move but he still gave his all”.
“I was really proud of Zelfy who’s had a rough week, he gave a great performance and he stepped up for a penalty. All our boys who stepped up as well, credit to them.”
The draw for the Round of 32 will be conducted on Tuesday, 26 June and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
FFA CUP – Round 7
Sunday, June 10
Corporate Travel Management Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane City FC – 2 (1) (Owain THOMAS 62’, Kai FIECHTNER 94’)
Olympic FC – 2 (4) (Zelfy NAZARY 33’, Alex SMITH 39’)
Olympic FC team: 1. Nicholas MOONEY, 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Kristen WATERS, 5. Steve WHYTE (14 James CUMINAO 59’), 8. Kazuya ITO, 10. Kieran SANDERS, 11. Jez LOFTHOUSE, 12. Costa PSAROS (17. Almir BASINAC 93’), 19. Jean-Philippe LASM (2. Jack GLOVER 80’), 20. Zelfy NAZARY, 23. Alex SMITH
Unused subs: 9. Danny BYRNE, 21. Dakota SPRANGE