NSW Minnows Take Out A League Champs In FFA Cup Scalp
It's a game that will go down in Australian sporting history.
It's being hailed as the biggest FFA Cup shock ever -- APIA Leichhardt Tigers F.C. have knocked out the A League champs.
It was the seventh time a state-league outfit has managed to beat a top-tier team in the knockout tournament, but this was perhaps the biggest scalp yet.
On Tuesday night, the team from inn-western Sydney beat Melbourne Victory 3-2 to book a spot in the FFA Cup quarter-finals.
Tasuku Sekiya opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a neat back-post finish - then he made it 2-0 shortly after the break with a thunderous shot that gave goalkeeper Matt Acton no chance.
The A League champions were clearly rusty and without their prized marquee signing in Japan's Keisuke Honda, who was left behind in Melbourne and ineligible to play in any case as he awaits his visa.
But Sekiya - who works part-time as a kitchenhand at the Sydney Opera House - stepped up in his idol's absence.
The 25-year-old striker has ambitions of playing in the A-League and on the evidence of his electric performance against Victory - and his form in the NSW NPL - he deserves at least a look-in.
Victory soon woke up, though, and squared the ledger with two goals in the space of six minutes from Kenny Athiu.
A third goal looked inevitable, but a visibly tired APIA kept pushing and eventually got their reward.
Defender Nathan Millgate headed home from a corner in the 80th minute to restore their advantage and seal a famous result for the club.
As the game went into three minutes extra time the tension was palpable around Leichhardt Oval, but the players fell to their knees as the final whistle was blown.
Scenes of jubilation were scene as the players celebrated their famous victory with their loyal fans who had supported them on a cold Tuesday night.
A rousing rendition of the team song in their dressing rooms capped off a night that will go down in Australian sporting history.