FFA Cup holders Adelaide United have maintained their hopes of back-to-back titles with a dramatic 2-1 extra-time win over Sydney FC.
Last season’s runners-up Perth Glory narrowly avoided an upset on Wednesday night with a late 1-0 victory over Lions FC, while Melbourne City eased into the quarter-finals by crushing Wellington Phoenix 5-1.
In an action-packed finale, Adelaide’s Dylan McGowan was sent off late in extra time just moments after bagging a 114th-minute winner, having profited from a remarkable pass from Marcelo Carrusca.
Rhyan Grant opened the scoring with a stunning 40-metre strike on the quarter-hour mark, only for Adelaide to equalise through Pablo Sanchez from close range at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Adelaide’s Craig Goodwin clipped the crossbar with a free-kick, but a youthful Sydney line-up enjoyed the better of the second half even if both goalkeepers were rarely troubled.
Perth faced a mountain to climb after just six minutes into their visit to Lions FC when goalkeeper Jarrod Tyson – the penalty shootout hero for the Glory in the previous round – was dismissed after just six minutes.
However, substitute goalkeeper Nick Feely pulled off a save from Andre Bonotto’s resultant spot-kick to maintain parity.
Despite the numerical advantage, the in-form Queenslanders, who competed in the National Soccer League (NSL) as Brisbane Lions, were unable to find a way past Feely.
The Glory avoided the lottery of penalties as Chris Harold secured an against-the-odds win with just three minutes remaining.
Melbourne City’s progress to the last eight was rarely in doubt as a three-goal 14-minute salvo helped the home side to a 4-1 halftime advantage.
The opening half included three penalties with Aaron Mooy opening the scoring from the penalty spot and new City signing Bruno Fornaroli doing likewise on debut, before Roy Krishna pulled a goal back for the Phoenix.
Wade Dekker made it 5-1 just after the break leaving Melbourne on target for a record FFA Cup score, but there was to be no more scoring with Krishna missing from the penalty spot late on.
Heidelberg United won through to the quarter-finals for the first time, seeing off Sydney United 2-0 in a match-up between two former NSL clubs.
Central Coast Mariners-bound striker Daniel Heffernan scored after just 25 seconds for Heidelberg – a FFA Cup record.
It took until the final minutes of the match for the Bergers to make the game safe as Ken Athiu prodded home after a defensive mix-up.