- By Matthew Lopez, Waratah Cup Editor, at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic booked its ticket to the Westfield FFA Cup as well as the Waratah Cup Semi-Final with a stunning 4-2 victory over traditional rivals Sydney United 58 FC in front of a healthy crowd at Belmore Sports Ground on Wednesday evening.
For United, they will have another chance, as seven of the eight quarter finalists qualify for the FFA Cup as NSW's seven representatives, but their Waratah Cup dream is over after a number of defensive lapses condemned them to defeat.
Olympic's killers came early in the second half and came off the back of a wonderful, rollicking first 45' minutes which ended 2-2, in front of a healthy crowd at Belmore Sports Ground.
Michael Gaitatzis' scrambled goal gave Olympic a 3-2 advantage and when substitute Dimitri Hatzimouratis unleashed a screamer on his left foot to make it 4-2, it was all over red rover for the Reds.
Grant Lee and Mark Rudan both named strong sides for this one, with the added carrot of FFA Cup qualification guaranteed to the winner.
The match started cagily with both sides feeling their way into the match, as is often the case with knock-out football.
Ante Tomic's early free kick was comfortably tipped over by the timeless Paul Henderson, before Olympic was forced to defender a number of corners in succession, which they did with aplomb.
The first genuine chance was Olympic's and it brought with it the first goal.
A break down the right by Brayden Sorge opened up the United defence and when he cut the ball back into the area, Go Shirai had the freedom of Belmore, with room enough and time enough to slot the ball past the helpless Diego Barcena.
One so often brings two and it was the case again, as eight minutes after the opener, Olympic doubled their lead.
Again United's left side of defence proved their undoing.
Evan Kostopoulos burst free down the Olympic right, before cutting back to first half substitute Harris Gaitatzis, who made no mistake with a superb finish into the top corner.
The Reds were shellshocked.
They needed something extraordinary to haul them back into the match and it came courtesy of their hugely promising young striker, Alec Urosevski.
He scored a fabulous goal against Blacktown City in the Mens 1 competition on the weekend, but his first goal here was arguably better.
He received the ball inside the area with nothing much on. Until he juggled the ball on his knee twice, and volley into the bottom corner past Henderson.
It is that sort of talent and execution that has Urosevski earmarked for far higher honours.
That was in the 36' minute and in the 38' United drew level, when Urosevski was fouled by Brendan Hooper.
Brimming with confidence, Urosevski stepped up to the spot and calmly sent Henderson the wrong way.
The half time break was welcome as it allowed everyone to draw breath after a thrill-a-minute first half.
The action resumed very quickly in the second when Michael Gaitatzis put Olympic ahead again in the 53' minute.
A goal mouth scramble was the cause, the effect was a goal to the promising youngster, who showed alertness and composure to help the ball over the line from close range.
The goal came as Rudan prepared to throw on Luka Glavas, left on the bench for this one, in an attempt to go for the victory.
He went on, but with the Reds now behind, there was much to do.
Theo Kofinas went into the book for a wild challenge on Michael Gaitatzis, and before long Olympic had put the tie to bed and booked their place in the semi final.
Hatzimouratis had been on the field for all of two minutes, but that was all he needed to put the game away.
When the ball dropped to the Olympic number 9 on the edge of the area, there was only one thing on his mind.
In one movement he belted a left footed arrow into the top corner, clipping the post on the way through.
It was worthy of winning any match, and it certainly sealed this one.
Olympic coach Grant Lee said post-match: "I'm very happy. All four goals were quality, although we conceded two poor ones.
"The goals we conceded were naive, but we created five or six chances.
"You could see by the quality of team selections that we take this (the FFA Cup) seriously. We want to be part of something big like the FFA Cup."
Sydney United 58 coach Mark Rudan was demonstrably disappointed.
"Not good," he said.
"Just the performance. It's not up to the standard this club expects.
"We'll discuss it. We have one session to talk and prepare (for Sutherland this weekend).
"The players have played this system for a long time."
Sydney Olympic 4 (Go Shirai 20', Harris Gaitatzis 28', Michael Gaitatzis 53', Dimitri Hatzimouratis 67’)
Sydney United 58 FC 2 (Alec Urosevski 36', PEN 38')