Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich believes a 4-0 scoreline flattered Bentleigh Greens and he was proud of his how his side competed in their FFA Cup round of 16 clash.
And he reckons a repeat of their first-half effort from Tuesday night at Magic Park will likely be enough to get them past Maitland in the Northern NSW NPL sem-finals starting on Sunday at Cooks Square Park.
Broadmeadow held the Greens scoreless in the first half but a hat-trick from Chris Lucas and 86th-minute goal to Tyson Holmes took the Victorian NPL side into the quarter-finals.
Bentleigh, who beat A-League side Wellington 1-0 in the round of 32, showed their class and dominated possession, but Magic, in the last 16 for the first time, were left ruing missed chances.
John Majurovski was wide with a header in the 24th minute and his top-corner strike in the 42nd was denied by a full-stretch Ryan Scott. Kale Bradbery’s near-post strike in the 45th was also stopped and he was off target from close range in the second half.
Lucas made Magic pay in the 47th and 52nd minutes before converting a penalty in the 71st after a foul from Josh Piddington. Zadkovich was disappointed with the scoreline but said “I think it flattered them”.
“I thought for 45 minutes we were perfect,” he said. “We wanted to sit in and absorb and counter a few times. We knew we’d have limited opportunities. We didn’t want to get into an end-to-end game with them.
“When that happened in the second half, you could see they had probably better individual players and a slightly stronger team, but I think in the first half we pretty much executed perfectly. The only thing we didn’t do was score.”
He said Majurovski’s missed header and “unbelievable saves” from Scott proved crucial.
“If he scores there, Magic are humming, we can really sit in and counter and they have to commit even more,” he said. “It would have solidified our game plan.
“At half-time they had all the possession, but we had the three best chances.
“We let ourselves down just after half-time. We didn’t set up properly at that set piece and we copped a goal. Once they scored it made it difficult for us.”
He also believed the penalty call against Piddington was “soft" and Magic were “a little bit unlucky” but their effort was “fantastic”.
Magic came through the game unscathed, although Cody Carroll carried a knee injury from training on Monday night. James Virgili (hamstring) missed the match but could return on Sunday. Fellow former A-League player Mitch Oxborrow is due back from suspension in the second leg of the semi-finals.
“If we can put in a first-half performance like that on the weekend, we’ll probably get the biscuits,” he said. “While the results don’t show it and we’ve conceded a few goals the last three weeks, I’m quietly confident. If we get a couple back, the boys recover OK, I think we’re primed to do something special and get in the grand final.”