“Whoever comes, we’ll be ready for them.”
That’s the message coming from Canberra Olympic striker Philippe Bernabo-Madrid after he sent his side into the next stage of the FFA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Surfers Paradise Apollo on Wednesday night.
Bernabo-Madrid’s 36th-minute strike proved the difference in the Round of 32 clash played in freezing conditions at Deakin Stadium.
Olympic coach Frank Cachia admitted his side’s performance wasn’t their best, but that was the least of his concerns.
“It was all about just getting the result to be honest,” Cachia said.
“I said to the guys that in games like this it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being effective, and if we don’t play the prettiest football but we get through to the Round of 16 then no one’s going to care.”
Olympic are now faced with the prospect of preparing for a Canberra Premier League title tilt and another FFA Cup fixture within a month, but Cachia is embracing the challenge.
“If you told me at the beginning of the year that we’d be three points behind Tigers with a game in hand, and in the final 16 of the FFA Cup, after winning the Fed Cup, we would have taken that,” he said.
Apollo went within a whisker of equalising in the 70th minute through Burcin Yorulmaz, but his shot grazed the side of the net. Chances were few and far between for the visitors after that as Olympic stalwart Angelo Konstantinou held the fort.
When referee Luke Withell blew full-time, the 1253-strong crowd erupted into chants of “O-lym-pic!”
“We probably squandered four or five chances,” Cachia admitted.
“But even when they came forward they didn’t really threaten us to the point where you didn’t think we’re on top. I wouldn’t say we were dominant, but we weren’t far off that.”
Olympic’s victory marks the second time a Canberra club has progressed through to the Round of 16 after Tuggeranong’s 2014 campaign.
Should Olympic draw one of the seven remaining A-League clubs in the Round of 16, the fixture will be played in Canberra between August 23-31.
AT A GLANCE
FFA Cup Round of 32: CANBERRA OLYMPIC 1 (Philippe Bernabo-Madrid 36′) bt SURFERS PARADISE APOLLO 0.