FFA Cup: Hume City hails defining week

Hume City defeated Sydney Olympic in the FFA Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday night, and coach Lou Acevski couldn’t hide his delight.  

In front of their rapturous home fans, Hume triumphed 3-1 to set up a mouth-watering quarter final home clash against fellow Victorian NPL side Oakleigh Cannons.

It could turn out to be a defining seven days for Acevski's team.

“It’s been a huge week for the club, one of the biggest weeks in the club’s history,” the elated coach said.

“It’s a massive achievement. It’s an Australian-wide tournament. To be sitting among the last eight clubs in all of Australia, with so many clubs entering the competition, is fantastic.”

“Last Friday night in the Victorian NPL elimination finals we beat the Melbourne Knights on penalties after extra time then, 72 hours later, we came up against a Sydney Olympic team - a very good Sydney Olympic team - to qualify into the FFA Cup Quarter Finals.

“Now we’ve got literally 48 hours recovery before we play Bentleigh Greens in the Major Semi Final on Friday night for a position in the Victorian NPL Grand Final.“

Speaking about his team’s effort against the visiting NSW NPL side, Acevski said the team gained a great deal of confidence after their great escape in their previous FFA Cup tie.

“Coming back in that game against Brisbane Strikers, with only seconds left in the game, has really given the belief to the players, knowing that they are good enough and they have that never die attitude,” he said.

“We knew that Sydney Olympic is a very good footballing team. We knew what we were up against. I said to the boys, ‘as long as we take our chances, and we defend well I’m sure we can beat anybody on our day’.

“They were on top of us in the first 15 minutes, and we took control after we reassessed a few things. We scored two goals in transition which was fantastic.

“The nerves starting setting in there when Sydney Olympic hit us on the counter and it was 2-1.We had to close up the game a little bit. We started getting possession of the ball, we did that well, and then we scored the third one and killed off the game completely.”

Managing the players during this blockbuster of a week Asevski’s message to his players is clear – revel in the moment.

“I just keep telling them to enjoy the ride,” he said

“I’ve always said to them the most important thing in football is winning but, at the same time, you must enjoy those moments, because sometimes in football you don’t get many opportunities to play in big games like we have over the last week or so.

“I know what the players are capable of, that’s the reason why I signed these boys – players like your Marcus Schroens, your Jai Inghams, Theo Markelis’s - they are exciting to watch. They are a threat to everybody, when we are attacking.

“Nick Hegarty our captain, who is a workhorse in the middle of the ground, is an exceptional footballer. We’ve also got our oldest player in the team, Izzy Erdogan – he is 33-years old. Our defensive midfielder, who just constantly battles week in week out. He is a leader with his performances. His attitude is infectious. 

“Our goalkeeper, Chris Oldfield, has been sensational not just in these games but throughout the whole season.”

After a favourable cup draw, Hume City now have a great opportunity to make the FFA Cup Semi Finals. They get to play their third straight FFA Cup home game against familiar opponents – Oakleigh Cannons.

“It’s fantastic,” Acevski said.

“I’m excited we got another home game, which is brilliant, we enjoy playing at home.

“But look, there is no easy game, and it doesn’t matter who you play. We know that Oakleigh are going to be a very tough game. We have played them three times this year and we’ve won one, we’ve lost one and we’ve drawn one. So we know it’s going to be a battle in that game.

“Leading up to the quarter final we’ll keep training like normal. Hopefully we can play the Victorian NPL Grand Final and we won’t change much at all. We’ll keep doing the same thing and keep preparing the same way.”

Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.