Macarthur FC are into their first ever grand final after claiming a 5-2 win over Oakleigh Cannons in the Australia Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.
A brace each for Daniel Arzani and captain Ulises Davila, as well as a classy strike from Jake Hollman sealed the comeback over the NPL Victoria champions that puts the Bulls just one game away from their first trophy.
On a cold, wet and windy night in Melbourne, the Bulls had to come from a goal down at Jack Edwards Park, showing their resolve to claim an emphatic victory.
“For me tonight, the biggest challenge was going a goal behind and then being able to turn that on its head. For me, that was very, very pleasing,” head coach Dwight Yorke said.
The Bulls began brightly with Lachlan Rose and Arzani coming close to breaking the deadlock early in the match but suffered a sucker-punch midway through the first half. Cannon’s forward Joe Guest struck an audacious shot from distance that flew into the top corner, giving the hosts the lead against the run of play.
However, the Bulls showed their resilience to fight back, scoring twice before the break. Davila brought them level with a superb solo goal, dribbling past one defender before driving his shot into the far corner of the net. On the stroke of half-time, Arzani made it 2-1 when he pounced on a spilled save from Oakleigh goalkeeper Lewis Italiano, rattling the roof of the net from close distance.
The Bulls took complete control of the match in the second half and Arzani had his second from the spot ten minutes after the restart. He was fouled by Italiano and made no mistake with the penalty, sending the Cannons goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 3-1.
Four minutes later, Hollman scored the Bulls’ fourth with a spectacular curling shot from outside the box, rattling the top corner from distance. After the hour, Davila sealed the Bulls passage to the final with a well taken penalty.
Oakleigh’s Wade Dekker scored a late consolation with a header from a corner before 13-year-old goalkeeper Ymer Abili made history in the dying minutes, coming on as a substitute to set a new record for youngest player.
The Bulls will now face NPL NSW club Sydney United 58 in the Australia Cup final on Saturday October 1. The venue for the decider is yet to be confirmed.