Altona Magic is through to the last eight of the Victorian leg of the FFA Cup.
The Magic is one win away from the national round-of-32, where they could be pitted against A-League or interstate opposition.
Firstly, the Magic, league leaders in NPL 2 west, have to clear a significant hurdle in top tier NPL club Northcote City in the next round to be played at Paisley Park later this month.
The Magic got a ball in the pot of Monday’s draw after beating Whittlesea Ranges 1-0 at Epping Stadium last Tuesday night.
Magic coach Goran Lozanovski said there was a buzz of excitement at Paisley Park with all the success the newly promoted first team is having this season.
“Everyone is very happy about us having a good cup run,” he said.
“In saying that, it’s more important that we’re doing well in the league season, but the cup run is an added bonus.”
Altona’s victory over Whittlesea Ranges came courtesy of a nifty free kick from Marino Gasparis.
Gasparis shaped up like he was going to kick the ball over the wall, only to readjust on the fly and kick to the keeper’s side. The Ranges goalkeeper was wrong footed and could not stop the ball from bulging the back of the net.
“It was a cheeky finish,” Lozanovski said.
Altona was the better side on the night and deserved its victory.
The Magic hit the post on two occasions and forced the Ranges custodian into a number of good saves.
“We were quite dominant and comfortable for the majority of the game,” Lozanovski said.
The stakes have gone up for Altona now.
The chance to draw the biggest clubs in the land is a mouth-watering prospect.
“Making the last four [out of the Victorian clubs], you might draw an A-League club or you might draw an interstate team,” Lozanovski said.
“It’s the furthest the club has got and we’re looking forward to going one more step.”
In the league action on Saturday, Altona Magic maintained its spot at the top of the ladder with a 3-1 win over Langwarrin.
Jon McShane opened the scoring for the Magic with a tap in just before half-time.
McShane then turned provider for Ben Litfin to double the Magic’s lead in the 65th minute.
Langwarrin halved the deficit through Liam Baxter from the penalty spot, but the Magic put the game beyond doubt with a Melvin Becket goal on the break.
The Magic will host third-placed St Albans Saints in a tantalising duel at Paisley Park on Saturday night.
In men’s state league 1, Altona City lost 1-0 to Banyule City.
Yarraville Glory went down 1-0 to Preston Lions to stay four points clear on the bottom.
In men’s state league 2, Altona East Phoenix had a 2-0 defeat to Brimbank Stallions, while in state league 3, Williamstown had a 1-1 draw with Essendon United.
In women’s state league 2, Maribyrnong Swifts went down 3-1 to Moreland Zebras, while Maidstone United copped a 4-0 hiding from ladder leader Hoppers Crossing.
It was a better result for Altona Magic in women’s state league 3, who beat Spring Hills 2-1 after goals to Simone Licciardi and Elena Psaila.