Two extra-time goals has helped Sydney United pull off one of the most spectacular finals comebacks in National Premier Leagues NSW history to snatch a 7-3 win against Blacktown City at Lily Homes Stadium on Wednesday, August 21.
After a scrappy extra-time win over rivals, Marconi Stallion's, United 58 knew they would have a hard game as they faced Blacktown City in a mid week match-up.
The first 20 minutes of the match was nothing anyone could have predicted with five goals an a missed penalty in what was an explosive opening to the contest.
It took Sydney United 58 less than three minutes to find a breakthrough when Tariq Maia took advantage of a scattered Blacktown defence to set up Peter Simonoski
The midfielder received the ball at the edge of the box before beating two defenders and delivering a perfect cross which was hammered into the back of the net.
The goal stunned Blacktown into action and within only two minutes they were awarded a penalty when Mason Versi was cut down in the box by Yianni Fragogiannis.
Matt Lewis kept his cool to fire past the keeper and level the score at 1-1.
Incredibly only three minutes later Blacktown was awarded another penalty when Fragogiannis cut down Versi a second time.
However, Blacktown couldn't take advantage from the spot blasting their shot over the bar.
The match was travelling at breakneck speed and before the fans could catch their breath City had taken the lead 13 minutes in.
Grant Lynch beat his marker to fire in from inside the penalty area off a looping corner kick.
The goal failed to settle the match and Sydney United 58 were the recipients of a penalty on the 17 minute mark.
Simonoski wasn't going to be denied and dispatch a perfect penalty to level the scores again at 2-2.
However, Blacktown had other ideas and kept up the helter skelter pace of the match by taking the lead only two minutes later.
Leroy Jennings got his head to the ball to nod it into the bottom right corner and make it 3-2 for the home side.
After a wild opening 20 minutes, Blacktown finally took control of the contest midway through the half.
City were happy to push the ball around with deft passing moves without truly punishing the opposition defence.
United 58 had one or two half chances but by the 40 minute mark the game had truly settled down.
There was one last moment in the first half when a spectacular acrobatic save from Blacktown City's Tristan Pendergast, denied a rasping effort from Yianni Perkatis who had unleashed a shot from 30-yards out.
It was an incredible first half of football and both sides, as well as the fans, were desperate to catch their breath at the break.
The interval failed to slow the game with both sides exploding out of the blocks at the resumption.
It was end to end with attack the primary focus.
Patrick Antelmi was brought off the bench by United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica to injected some extra firepower for his side.
Something had to give and it was United 58 who were the benefactors in the 74th minute as Uskok fired in from close range to tie the scores once again at 3-3.
Blacktown were straight back on the attack and Jennings could've given the home side the lead but he was unable to turn a cross across the face into the net.
It was a nerve-wracking final minute with two United 58 efforts cleared off the line by Blacktown with the referee's full-time whistle proving a saving grace as the match headed to extra-time.
As expected it was foot to the floor football from the start.
Blacktown pumped long balls into the box looking to test United 58's central defenders, but it failed to create the breakthrough the home team was looking for.
After eight minutes of extra time the flash-point arrived.
Antelmi lived up to his reputation as a super-sub by running onto a dangerous cross into the box and tapping it past the keeper to give United 58 a shock lead.
Before Blacktown could process what had happened, the visitors were up 5-3 thanks to a spectacular wonder strike from Maia.
The midfielder found the top bins with a sublime dipping effort from thirty yards out which Prendergast was unable to stop.
City needed to find a goal fast and were unlucky not to cut their deficit to only one when Manos made a great stop to parry a powerful driven shot from Dakota Askew,
Uskok needed to head the ball off the line early in the second period of extra-time as Blacktown's desperate attacking raids moved closer and closer to finding the back of the net.
Time was becoming Blacktown's greatest enemy as they pushed everyone forward to get the goals they needed.
But the plan backfired with Matt Sim striking twice on the counter attack to end Blacktown City's season and secure United 58's spot in Saturday's preliminary final clash against Wollongong.
United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica said nobody could've ever predicted a game like this and praised the efforts of his club's veteran stars.
"The opening 20 minutes was completely crazy and the fact we have been able to fight back from that and get such a big result is a testament to these boys," he said,
"I told them at half time to use the time to regain their composure and come back out ready.
"Come extra-time the team stood up when the pressure was really mounting. They have overcome a lot of adversity in this match to get the win and they should be very proud of their efforts."
Sydney United 58 will now face the 2019 NPL NSW Men's Premiers Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium this Saturday, August 24, as they hope to continue its good fortunes in the finals series by booking a spot into the 2019 Grand Final at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, August 31 where APIA Leichhardt Tigers will be waiting for them.