FFA Cup wrap: Victory shocked by APIA, Sydney survive scare

It will go down as one of the most memorable nights in FFA Cup history.

As the half time whistles blew in Cairns and Leichhardt, Hyundai A-League powerhouses Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory were both staring down the barrel of shock Round of 16 eliminations.

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And although Steve Corica’s Sydney side managed to survive by the skin of their teeth, reigning Hyundai A-League Champions and 2015 FFA Cup winners Melbourne Victory were sensationally knocked out by APIA Leichhardt.

Kevin Muscat’s side arrived in Sydney’s inner west without Keisuke Honda, but still buoyed by the recent signing of their Japanese superstar.

However, the Hyundai A-League’s most successful club would soon be at the mercy of APIA Leichhardt’s own Japanese maestro.

Tasuku Sekiya’s dream face off with his footballing idol Honda might not have materialised, but even Victory’s new icon would have appreciated the APIA man’s sensational double against Muscat’s men.

Sekiya’s brilliance was undone by two pieces of opportunism by Kenny Athiu, but APIA rallied once more and etched their name in FFA Cup folklore when Nathan Millgate crashed a header home with 10 minutes remaining.

2,500 kilometres north of the miracle unfolding at Leichhardt Oval, Sydney FC entered the sheds with their FFA Cup title defence in jeopardy, after Cairns’ Ryan Cavanah fired the NPL Queensland in front with a textbook curling finish.

It would have been a poor way to mark Rhyan Grant's return, who came back for his first competitive game in more than a year after his long recovery from an ACL injury.

The Sky Blues defender enjoyed a strong game too - getting forward well and defending with vigour. 

It looked as though Cairns were on course for a massive upset, but two goals in the space of two minutes from Alex Brosque and Trent Buhagiar and a penalty save from Andrew Redmayne helped Steve Corica’s side escape with their cup defence intact.

The match also saw Jop van der Linden make his Sydney FC debut and the Dutchman came close to capping his maiden Sky Blues appearance with a powerful free kick late in the night that hit the underside of the bar. 

While the potential giant-killing of the Hyundai A-League clubs dominated the discussion, an end to end whirlwind of a match took place in Avondale.

The Avengers raced to a two-nil lead courtesy of Kaine Sheppard and Ross Archibald, but a converted penalty from Devonport Strikers’ goal-scoring machine Brayden Mann gave the travelling Tasmanians a lifeline.

It was not to be though – and the matches stand out player Elvis Kamsoba sealed the deal with a great individual goal late on, before Jonathan Germano added a fourth from the penalty spot.

Meanwhile, it just wasn’t meant to be for Broadmeadow Magic. Ruben Zadkovich’s side put everything into their clash with Bentleigh Greens, but a 22-minute hattrick from Chris Lucas and strike from Tyson Holmes helped the Greens secure a quarter-final berth